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M.D., LL.B., LL.M. 

1871, Octotrer 12,Washington,D. C. • New York, N. Y., December 17,1940 

President of The Adventurers* Club 


"/ Swear by Apollo" 

Cornell University Library 
GR 305.J58 1903 

3 1924 024 159 539 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


Indian Folklore, 

( Being a collection of tales illustrating the 

customs and manners of the Indian 

people. ) 




^2,MT sDjno^. 

, ,, PRINTED BY H.'s. DUBAL ' 

( Ail rights including rigU »f translation, referred, ) 


















It is haydly- ^^(Jc^qsary tc- say that from 
very earjy times India has bega well known 
for the richness and variety pi .airthe branches 
of its literature.'}. Its, leffoqd'cjry lore is parti- 
cularly wide and varied and presents us with 
a vivid picture of the actions, projects, thoughts, 
follies and virtues of the human race. 

In olden days the means of imparting in- 
struction were very limited. The art of print- 
ing was unknown aod there were no schools 
of the modern type ; hence various ways were 
invented for educating children by Avord of 
mouth, and this is the origin of all those 
traditions which are at once interesting and 

It is but natural that legends, thus tra- 
velling from lip to lip, should be apt to grow 
inaccurate day by day, and vanish altogether 
in course of time ; and fearing that they might 
be totally lost, I have tried to collect such 
legends scattered through our literature, and 
have worked the rude material thus gathered 
into, I hope, a readable form and presented it 

to the publie.jh the shape ofa'.haildj mmual 
called ' Kadtikmkld and Bodhvkjjhian. ' The 
sources of the Haalstrn'S-. foa-Miag . tile headings- 
of the stories, ^ have befiii fc.lrefuiljy traJ3ed, and 
hence it is'hojjed they will prote'';u'seful for 
practical purpdseJj, •.''"**'.* 

The book ^fW "first «ubHsKed'in 1885 a. d. 

r' •*• »• • 

in Gtlljarciti and 'war),nfy.'.' welcomed by the 
Press and the public and was also sanctioned as 
a prize and library book by the Director of 
Public Instruction. Since then it has been 
thrice reprinted and almost all the copies 
have been sold. "Mr. Ganeshji/' says the 
Indian Spectator, " has shown considerable skill 
in sifcing and arranging the rude materials 
collected from many sources and in investigating 
half forgotten local chronicles of wit and hum- 
our with an interest which will give them a 
permanent place in the literature of the pro- 
vince, " 

The late Mr. J. W. A. Weir, Collector of 
Surat and other Englishmen of my acquaint- 
ance, who have read my book, advised me to 
publish an English translation of the same. 
Acting upon their advice, I got a few stories- 


translated into English and sent them round, 
for opinions which were, without any exceptions,, 
very favourable. " I. would certainly encourage 
you, " says the Hon, Mr, Justice Crowe of 
the Bombay High Court, " to get the book trans- 
lated into English as it may prove of use to^ 
students of Gujarati and will give an insight 
into the methods of thoughts of the people, " 
It is hoped, therefore, that this English edi- 
tion of the book will promote a larger acquain- 
tance with, and a heartier appreciation of, the 
native thoughts and native customs, the practi- 
cal wisdom and ripe experience depicted in 
the following pages. This is, I think, the- 
first Gujarati book of its type, translated inta 
English, and, if, as such, it forms an interesting 
and amusing reading for the English knowing 
people, I shall feel myself amply rewarded. 

The Hindi edition of the book is in tha 
Press, and I hope to publish MarEithi and 
Bengali translations of the same very soon. 

The work of translation was entrusted to 
m.y friend Mr, Nagardas Mulji Dhruva of 
the Gondal Grasia College, to whom my grate* 
ful thanks are due for his hearty co-operation» 


1 must not also forgat to express my sense of 
obligation to Mr. John F. Hartin, Principal of 
the said College, for kindly looking over the 
manuscript and making valuable suggestions. 


October, 1903 




1 Turn down your mustache, you Bania; yes, 
sir, seven times and a half. 1 

2 A Buffalo in the Bazar and a quarrel at home. 4 

3 I 'ill dip it and eat it. 7 

4 Make 50 cakes out of 4 Ihs. of Hour and 
give one between the two. They may eat 
as much of it as they can, and are welcome 

to take home what is left. 9 

5 Dragging the well. 12 

6 Who says it is a Rampi cut '. 1.5 

7 A hundred snakes in a bush. 22 

8 Sluggards who prefer death to work. 25 

9 Too lazy to pick up berries. 28 

10 Kankodi is cleared off by worms. Soap is 
rotten, Iron is eaten up by mice and Htnrbai 

is carried away by a kits. 30 

11 The long and short of a thing. 36 

12 To be very liberal with other people's mone3^ 39 

13 Why do they go to Malwa ? They might 
as well stay at home and eat Khaja and 
sugar. 43 

14 All the people of the town eat rice and milk. 45 

15 Allah has already taken His due. 47 

16 Gabha in place of Gambhu. 48 

17 A Fool 'a bolt is soon shot. 51 

18 Happen what may, I won't add to it 
another grain. 54 

19 Even a snake laid by may have its use. 57 

20 You are not blind though the spear is. 60 

21 I will have her if I can; if nob, what do 

I lose ? 62 

22 150 for the beard, whereas 400 for the Choti. 67 

23 Plate this club with gold. 68 

24 No, by my grand father, I am not hungry. 69 

25 I give you all the buffaloes of the town. 71 

26 Law licks up all. 72 

27 Something, if you could but tell what. 75 

28 A sequel to the above. , 77 

29 The dog of HadaM. * 79 

30 Tidings of the well-being of the Thakore's 
family. 81 

31 To do as Bhaga did. 84 

32 Fool's haste is no speed. 87 

33 Dhedas as arbitrators, 89 

34 It is a Mia's field, not a widow's. 93 

35 Putting one off does not necessarily imply 
refusal. 95 

36 One good head is better than a hundred 
strong hands. 97 

37 There is no going back. 100 

38 Foolish boasting. 102 

39 No shift and one too many. 104 

40 Rejecting a bribe of a hundred thousand rupees 105 

41 To strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. 107 

42 All Saint without, all devil within. 109 

43 He that is won with a nut may be lost with 

an apple. 112 

44 A fig to the doctor when cured. 114 

45 Can't help it, my friend ; for, I have the 
misfortune to be a PsUidar. ' 118 

4G The boy who bit his mother. 120 

47 Where have you been, Ralia Gadhavl ? On 

a wild goose chase. 123 

48 Nothing venture, nothing gain. 125 

49 Be a turn-coat. 12^ 

50 The beg[;^ar is never out of his way. ISO- 

51 Every rogue is at length out-witted. 133 

52 There is difference between man and man, 
says Anand to Permanand, for, one can't be 
had for money, while another is not worth 

a pie. 135 

53 A cross and perverse Mia. 13!> 

54 You arc fed with ghee and molasses, and 

yet you won't walk well. 142 

55 There was Rama and there was Ravana. 
Ravana carried away Rama's wife and the 
latter took his life and kingdom. That's the 
sum and substance of Ramayana. 144 

56 Avarice is the root of all evils. 145 

57 Call me an ass. 147 

58 All the gods will slowly disappear, leaving 

behind them the idols of wood and stono. 149 
SO Jack would wipe his nose if he had one. 150 

60 The handle of the axe is the destruction of 

its progenitor. 152 

■Gl A niche in the wall. 153 

62 Sticking fast to a thing. 15ii 

■63 So got, so gone. 158 

64 A boon asked by a blind man. 160 

65 The Bhats of Mesdna dine to morrow. 162 
OG Who is the wiser of the two ;• 165 
■67 Waging war against the sun. 166 

68 Who can spin so much cotton. 169 

69 It is your mace that commands respect, not you. 171 
"70 He that shows his purse longs to be lid of it. 173 

71 A learned fool. 176 

72 Half the Juwar belongs to Mia. ' 179 

73 A Shepherd always dreams of open fields. 182 
■J4 A negro thinks his own child the handsomest. 184 

75 Come and stay in Alalia if you are afraid 

of Allah, 186 

76 Presence of mind is the best weapon. 188 

77 I Yiould die, if it were only to make you a 
widow. ] 90 

78 Where shall we graze the cattle ? 193 

79 To go for wool and come home shorn. 194 

80 She is no gift ; for, I have paid for her. 198 

^1 If the cap fits, wear it. 202 

S2 The greatest clerks are not always the wisest 

men. 204 


83 A little learning is a dangerous thing. 20T 

o o o 

84 Borrowing 5,000 rupees on a single hair. 209 

85 Weak threads united form a strong rope. 212- 

86 Vain glory blossoms but never bears. 214- 

87 A knife in the box. 2U> 

88 Seeta-Harana. 220' 

89 Robbing the robbers. 222 

90 The Bania and the Burglars, 225- 

91 A thief and the scorpion. 22& 

92 Never mind the goods; the invoice is still 
with me 25f>- 

9B I will please you. 282 

94 All for the best. 23& 

" The people's voice the voioe of God we call ; 
And -what are proverbs but the people's voice ? 
Coined first, and current made by common choice ? 
Then sure they must have weight and truth withal. " 


The genius, wit, and spirit of a nation are dis- 
covered in its proverbs.— 5acon. 

Indian FolMope. 

• :"y STORY Iv?; 
.• , ••• ■■> " 

"Turn doyrn,.yoiiii;.mji&ta.'che;you Bania;"' 
"Yes, sir, sevea. tiifJes. and a half." 

Thbbe once lived in Ahmed^bad an Afghjli* 
named Bankekhan, whose house stood facingf 
the dwelling of a Bania named Chhabiid^, 
The Bania used to get up early in the mornings 
wash his hands and face and give a twist ta 
his mustache. One morning, Bankekhan waff- 
sitting on a swinging cot in his verandah,- 
when his eyes fell on Chhabildas twisting hi»^ 
mustache as usual. This* was too much for 

* Turning up the mustache is considered »■ 
sign of superiority among the natives of India, e. g, 
Prat4p, the Mna of Chittdre, when driven out of 
his native town, took an oath that he would not turif 
up his mustache as long as he had not re-capture(J 
the town. This he failed to do, and the oath is sUl^ 
considered binding upon his heirs. 


• .. : ; '•• • 

the Path^n, At -onqs •Ibeing'/Uts.' temper, he 

jcried out, " Yejj'BSnisL, what de^^jju- mean by 
that? How'darfe you turn up your^.iTmstache 
in nay presence? \Y9}1,Qpn repeiitrof the 
Insult you -have * waiilo&ly: •.ftflfered ine this 
jnorning." •*.*•'•'::. •••., / 

Chhabildsk.a'tJould not or wojBfl4'n'<5t under- 
■stand him and Wehij.o'n: doii^* 'Ahe s^me thmg 
Again. When once mor^ Warjae, the Pathan, 
Jie said, " Well, Kh^n S&.heb, why do you 
give yourself unnecessary airs? Are you the 
supreme ruler here that you can injure me by 
hard words ? Who are you, sir, to talk to me 
in that strain?" 

"At any rate I can not put up with the 
Insult;" said the Path&n, "down on your 
knees, or I shall collect men and have your 
bouse plundered." 

"As if you could collect men and others 
ijould not ! Do your worst." 

"AH right. Take care of yourself. Call 
me an ass if I don't cause you to turn down 
your mustache." 

After the altercation the Patha,n at once 
began to collect a band of hirelings with a view 


to vanquish his foe. The Banid, however, was 
not to be beaten so easily. He was heard 
giving instructions to his clerks every morning 
to write to his agents at several places to hire 
warlike bands and hold them in readiness. 
These orders were all countermanded in private, 
and in fact he did not enlist a single soul. 
But the show he made had the desired effect 
upon the thoughtless Path^n. Hearing that 
the Bani^ was collecting a large force, he 
mortgaged his house and ornaments, and spent 
all he hsid in hiring more men. 

At the end of a month, the Path^n, being 
unable to meet the daily expenses of his band, 
sent word to the Banid, either to turn down 
his mustache or to get ready for a fight. The 
BaniS., at once, ran to him, and with folded 
arms exclaimed, " Oh ! Kh5,n S&iheb, I have at 
last seen my mistake. I cannot compete with 
you. Again, as neighbours we are brethren, 
and ought not to dream of coming to blows for 
nothing. You are a big SardSir, while who 
am I-a poor Banid-that I should raise my 
arm against you!" The PathS,n'8 vanity was 
gratified by the suppliant attitude the Banifl. 


assumed. He, therefore, asked him to turn 
down his mustache as a sign of defeat. The 
Banift., while doing so, exclaimed, " Not once, 
but seven times and a half, sir ! " 

Moral: — Envy shoots at another but 
Avounds itself. 

Envious persons are always jealous of 
other people's good fortune. They cannot be 
cured of the disease but by their utter ruin or 
death. A bat cannot see during the daytime ; 
is that any fault of the sun? [Gulistdn of 
Sheikh SaacU). 


"A Buffalo in the Bazar and a quarrel 
at home." 

In one of the villages of K^thiawdr lived 
a cultivator named Pdncho. The name of his 
wife was Filldn. One day, when she went out 
to fetch water, she saw a herd of buffaloes at 
the village gate, and the villagers buying them' 
and driving them home. FAldn also wanted to 


buy one, and on reaching home she said to 
her husband, " Do you hear ? Splendid buflfkloes 
are being sold dirt cheap at the gate. Go and 
buy me one this instant. Don't you know that 
we have long been doing without good milk 
or whey?" 

"Why, woman," said the husband, " I am 
not blind to it. I will at once go and bring 
one home ; but you will have to give my sister 
daily as much whey as she requires, and that 
too without mixing much water with it. Do 
you see ? " 

"That I won't. I have to work hard 
from morn till night, feeding the buffalo and 
cleaning the yard ; and then to give away whey 
to your brothers and sisters ! why shouldn't I 
^ive it to mine'i Why should they have 
precedence ? " 

" You termagant, " angrily exclaimed 
P&,ncho, " dare to do that and I will knock out 
your brains." 

" Let me see you do it. It is easier said 
than done." 

This was too much for P4neho. Taking 
a thick bamboo-stick that was lying by, he 


made a free use of it on the back of his spouse. 
The loud lamentations of Fftl^n attracted the 
whole neighbourhood to the scene of action. 
It was soon found out that the couple had 
agreed to buy a buffalo, but had disagreed as 
to the distribution of whey among their relatives 
after they had bought it, and that was why 
they had come to blows ! A shrewd Bania 
named ChatArd^s, who was a silent witness of 
all that had happened, now came forward and 
thus addressed the couple, " I say, your buffalo 
has damaged the wall of my hous?; get it 
repaired this instant and then there will be 
time enough to settle the question of whey ! " 
Simultaneously they exclaimed, "We don't 
own any buffalo; how is it possible then for 
her to have damaged your wall ? "When you 
have no buffalo," replied the Bani^, "what is 
this fuss about ? " This witty remark brought 
them to their senses and they retired to .their 
house amid the jeers of the villagers. 

Moral: — Were it not for the folly and 
thoughtlessness of human nature, the world 
would go on very smoothly and half the causes 
of complaint would disappear. 


"I 'ill dip it and eat it!" 

A Mahomedan named Sheikh HAsain vrasf 
one day going to a neighbouring village. Ati 
midday he reached a pond, and as it was very 
hot, he spread a cloth beneath a bunyan tree 
that was standing on the bank, and lay down 
with the intention of taking a few hours' rest. 
By chance, another MAsalm^h came that way 
and seated himself beside the Sheikh. 

Mahomedans as a class are great gossips. 
They were encouraged to exercise this trait of 
theirs by the cool breeze and the refreshing 
shade of the tree overhead. After mutual 
salaming and inquiry about each other's healthy 
the Sheikh exclaimed, "Allah is all-powerful. 
To Him nothing is impossible. He can reduce 
a king to poverty and raise a fakeer to a throne 
in the twinkling of an eye ! He can turn a 
molehill into a mountain immediately. If He 
would be pleased to transform the leaves of 
this tree into Jrotees, and the water of thtr 

+ Eotees = cakes. 


pond into tghee, I would at once pick up 
fotees, dip them into the ghee and eat them with 
^reat pleasure ! " The other on hearing this 
jCried out, " Sheikh S^heb, we are both sitting 
binder the sam3 tree, and have therefore equal 
^ight to the rotees and the ghee!" "By all 
ineans," replied the Sheikli. " I am glad 
you have admitted it," said the other, " but I 
donot in the least approve of the extravagent 
|}roeess of dipping. That would soon exhaust 
our stock of ghee, I can't allow more than a 
spoonful for every cake. You seem to me a great 
^pandthrift ! " '-Bat it won't coit us a pie," 
retorted the Sheikh, "why njfc thsn u'i2 it 
freely.'' At this the other lost temper and 
exclaimed, "Take care what you are doing; do 
oot trifle with me." " I. don't care a fig for you, 
you miser; I am more than a match for you, 

jdo you see?" 

From words they came to blows. A few 
■travellers who were going that way were 
attracted to the place by the noise, and on 
learning the cause of their quarrel, one of them 
.aaid, " Let the transformation take place first, 

> — . . ■■ . . ■ ' ~ —^ r — * ■ 

t Ghee = clarified butter. 


and there will be time enough to settle the 
dispute afterwards." This timoly remark 
brought them to their senses and made them 
ashamed of themselves. 


" Make 50 cakes out of 4 lbs. of flour 
and give one between the two. They may 
eat as much of it as they can, and are 
welcome to take home what is left!" 

There lived in Broach a Musalmfin named 
Daulatkhdn. He belonged to a noble family 
which had been reduced by hard times and 
folly to very poor circumstances. Daulatkhun 
earned with great pains about 5 rupees per 
month, and this together with his wife's 
income, derived from grinding corn and spinn- 
ing cotton, hardly sufficed to keep the wolf from 
the door. They had, moreover, an only son 
whom it was necessary they should marry; 
but they had not a pie to speud on the marriage. 


nor could they find an obliging Marw^ri who 
would accomodate them even at exorbitant 
interest. All their friends and relations, to 
the number of about one hundred, must be 
invited to dinner on the occasion, yet they 
had nothing in the house of any value, or 
they would have gladly disposed of it or 
mortgaged it. On ran-sacking the whole house, 
however, they found about 4 ft?, of wheat 
which they resolved to sacrifice for this grand 

"You grind the wheat," said the Moslem 
to his wife, "and make 50 cakes of the flour. 
In the meantime I 'ill go and invite our friend'* 
and relatives. When they come and sit down 
to dinner, you serve one cake between two 
and tell them plainly that they may eat as much 
of it as they can, and are welcome to carry 
home what is left ! " "I never heard of guests 
being allowed to take the food home ; it is 
enough if we feed them. Even J3ah<!lk&.rs do 
no more ! " suggested the tBibi thoughtfully. 
" Such is the custom in our family. I don't 

J Sft.h6kS,rs = Rich people, 
t Bibi = A Mahomedau lady. 


care what otherB do and how much they 
spend. I can afford to be Uberal on an occasion 
hke this which does not occur very often. I 
must, and will keep up the prestige of my 
worthy ancestors!" 

The cakes were accordingly prepared, and 
the guests began to pour in. When they 
were seated and served with half a cake each 
( weighing about half an ounce), they were at 
a loss to decide how much of it to eat and 
how much to take home for children ! Not 
to give offence to the host and to show him. 
that the food was more than enough, they cut 
the bread into two pieces, ate one and carried 
home the other ! 

When all had departed except a few select 
friends, Daulatkh^n asked his wife to bring' 
some food for himself and children. When he 
was told, however, that there was not a morsel 
of food in the house, he cried out, " WhatT 
had not these fellows had sanse enough io 
leave some food even for the children? It 
is fortunate that my friends are here, and they, 
will gladly resign their share to the children, 
I am sure ! " The friends appealed to, had tO' 


surrender the bread, go home and make what 
arrangements they could for their dinner ! 

MoBAL : — 
* Of all the causes which conspire to blind 
Man's erring judgment and misguided mind 
What the weak head with strongest bias rules 
Is pride the never failing vice of fools.' 


•Dragging. the well' 

A WEALTHY barber of Wadhw^n invited 
all his caste-fellows, living within a radius of 
twelve miles from the town, to a caste-dinner. 
The assemblage was so great that everywhere, 
inside and outside the town, none but barbers 
were to be found. A group of these village- 
surgeons was comfortably seated on the steps 
leading down to a well, and gossiping on 
indifferent topics, when a happy and quite 
novel idea struck one of them. Addressing 
his fellows he exclaimed, "There is no well 


ia our village. If we can, therefore, contrive 
to carry this one there, we should confer a 
great boon on the villagers." 

"That is a happy idea," said another 
barber. "With our united force it would be 
easy enough to carry it with us. When 
:]:Han<im&,n could carry a big mountain in the 
palm of his hand, there is no reason why we, 
who are so many, should not drag a well after 

"Mere words won't do," said another. 
" Do you suggest any means of achieving the 
feat ? You can't shave before you have wetted 
the hair, you know." To this the second barber 
replied, " Let us buy suflScient ropes to drag 
it with ; " but another interposed with " Where 
is the money to buy them with? If you can 
do it without spending a pie, do it; not 
otherwise." A barber who appeared to be 
thinking deeply, then made the following 
suggestion: — "Listen to mo. We have with 
us razors and scissors. Let us cut off our hair 
and weave it into a rope." To this the 
originator of the scheme replied, " You are an 

X Han(imS,n=The monkey god. 


aas. It would take a long time to weave the 
hair into a rope, I propose that all present 
should give up their turbans for the purpose 
which when tied together would form a long 
rope. Tie one end of it to one of the pillars 
of the well and pull at the other with all your 

The laat proposal seemed the most feasible 
and the least expensive. All present took off 
their turbans which were soon formed into a 
long rope. Then they fastened one end of it 
to a pillar of the v/ell and began to pull at 
the other with all their might ; but the turbans 
could not stand the strain and with a creaking 
noise, which the silly fellows interpreted as 
due to the motion of the well, they were 
torn asunder and down came the barbers with 
a crash, some breaking their bones while others 
escaped with slight injury ! Thoroughly asham- 
ed of their folly, they at once took the nearest 
road to their village, bare-headed and smeared 
with blood. 
Moral: — Attempt not impossibilities. 
'Sure of all follies this the greatest is 
Madly to attempt impossibilities.' 


Cf.— The Viper and the file— .<Esop's Fables. 


"Who says it is a *Rampi cut?" 

At one end of a street in J&,mnagar, stood 
the shop of a cobbler named Preml&.. The 
cattle of half the town passed and repassed 
by his shop twice a day— once in the early 
morning when they went out to graze, and once 
in the evening when they were driven home 
for the night. Among the cattle there was a 
fat and mischievous buffalo. She was a great 
nuisance to the children of the street, as no 
sooner did she catch sight of them, than she 
rushed at them with raised tail and lowered 
head. She was always ready for a fight, and 
failing to find a combatant, she would rub 
,her back against every wall in the street, and 
thrust her horns in every door-way by which 
she passed. She would really have made a 

; * ES>mpi = A Cobbler'e knif?. 



name and won a prize if she were allowed to 
take part in a Bull-fight in Spain or an 
Elephant-fight in Barod^. 

Now this wilful buffalo had made it a 
rule to rub her back against Premla's wall 
every time she passed by his shop, and in so 
doing she often damaged it, and put poor Premla. 
to the expense of getting it repaired. 

One morning when Premld was at work, 
the buifalo passed by his shop and rubbed 
her back against the newly repaired wall, as 
was her habit, and brought it down with a 
crash. Premie was heartily tired of her mis- 
chievous pranks, and with the fixed intention 
of teaching her a lesson, he seized a R^impi 
that was lying by and ran after her. Before 
the buffalo had gone very far, he inflicted a 
deep wound on her neck, and returned to his 
shop well pleased with the result, the more 
so, as none had observed him while he struck 
the blow. 

A short time after, when the people begaii 
to stir out of their houses, they found the 
buffalo lying in the street and weltering in 
the blood that had flowed copiously from the 


wound. A crowd of persona of all castes and 
creeds was soon formed round her body, and 
every body was advancing his own theory 
regarding the nature of the wound and tho" 
instrument with which it was made. 

"It seems to be," said a barber, "the 
work of an idler, who has got no better work 
to do. It reminds me of a barber out of work 
who plied his razor on the back of a young" 
buffalo when human beings were beyond hist- 
reach ! " 

" You are every inch a barber," remarked 
a Bani^, " and there is no sense in what yoxt 
say. Because a man has nothing to do, it 
does not follow that he would wantonly take 
the life of a buffalo. There must be some deep- 
motive in this act." 

" It must have been so written in her 
forehead," said an astrologer. " Even Brahm^ 
cannot check or alter the course of Destiny. 
What is done is done. There is no use talking 
about it." To this a cultivator replied, •' Thatr 
won't do. What if we have to turn the whole 
field upside down ? The culprit must be found 
out and put in the stocks. Nothing less would 


save our cattle from further molestation." 

"I quite agree with you,'' said an oilmanj 
"The murder will out, as does a drop of oil 
from the bottom of a bucket full of water." 

" Ten to one," remarked a woodcutter, " it 
is the work of some one living in this street. 
We had, therefore, better enquire in the neigk; 
bourhood; for, you all know that the handle 
of an axe is the destruction of its progenitor." 

"I am not sure of that," doubtfully 
exclaimed a tailor ; " why do not the neighbours 
come forward and give out the truth. They all 
seem to be in league against the poor buffalo. 
There is no patching of the sky if it is ever 
torn.'' To this a carpenter agreed and added, 
" They require a boring. We had better hand 
them all over to the Police and then the real 
culprit would surely be detected." " I am 
of the same opinion," put in a Mi&n. '• Kick 
and then question is my policy which if 
followed would surely bring out the truth.". 

" That strikes me as an excellent suggest 
tion," said a goldsmith. " Test pure gold in 
whatever way you like, it would never blacken." 
Likewise, those who are innocent will come 


out unhurt." " If you have made up your 
minds," remarked a widow, " why waste time ? 
' Long a widow weds with shame. ' " " You 
all know," said a prostitute, " that what belongs 
to the public belongs to nobody. I, thei'e- 
fore, propose that you form a committee and 
authorize them to {take necessary steps. A 
bastard is the son of no man ! " 

. "The last bed is watered," impatiently 
exclaimed a gardener, " that is the buffalo ia 
dead. Do what you will, but do it soon." 

"This is sailing over smooth waters. I 
wonder how you would manage if you had to 
sail over rough seas ! " testily remarked a sailor.. 
A Vohora who had some experience of law 
courts said, " You people don't know what 
going to law means. You will be asked when, 
where and by whom the buffalo was seen alive 
last, why did you not report the matter at 
once and whom do you suspect. Then you will 
have to give your evidence on oath and undergo 
a searching cross-examination. Why take all 
this responsibility upon your heads for 
nothing ? Think before you act." 

"I don't quite . understand," said a 


shepherd, " what you all mean. God has given 
you two hands and strength enough to use them. 
Why not find out the murderer and dispatch 
him at once? That is the way to end the 

The shepherd's advice was disregarded and 
it was decided by an overwhelming majority 
to report the matter to the Police, when a 
trio consisting of an old Arab pensioner, a 
Rdjpiit and a Habshi arrived on the spot. 
They were severally asked to examine the wound 
and say with what instrument it was inflicted. 
After carefully examinning the wound the 
Arab said, " In as much as it is not straight, 
it seems to have been inflicted by a scimitar 
and must therefore be the work of an Arab 
such as generally wear that weapon." " I beg 
your pardon," exclaimed the Habshi, "the 
wound is quite straight and deep. She must 
have fallen a victim to the long knife of a 
Habshi beggar who may have some private 
grudge against her owner." "I am a better 
authority in such eases," said the R^jpAt; 
•' It is decidedly a wound inflicted by a battle- 
axe which Rajptits alone know how to wield.'' 


This difference of opinion as regards the 
nature of the wound led to further discussion 
on the subject. An old gardener, who had 
not uttered a word till now, came forward, 
and after examining the wound, he said, "I 
am prepared to declare it on oath, if need be, 
that this wound is inflicted by a scraper." 
Some of the bystanders did not understand 
what he meant by a scraper. They asked 
him what it was like, to which he replied 
that it resembled a cobbler's knife or Kimpi 
as they call it. 

Premie, who had joined the group and 
was attentively listening to their discussion, 
was startled at the words * Cobbler & R4mpi,' 
and his guilty conscience led him to believe 
that the truth had at last come out and that 
he would soon be arrested and dragged to the 
Durb4r. He, therefore, put on a bold face 
which was, however, belied by his chattering 
teeth and trembling body. He bounded forward 
and seizing the gardener by the wrist, he 
exclaimed, "Who says it is a Rampi cut? 
Who saw me doing it and when? 

This voluntary though inadvertent con- 


fession convinced the spectators that Premie 
was the guilty person. The matter was, how- 
ever, amicably settled, the cobbler agreeing- 
to pay a sufficient compensation to the owner- 
of the buffalo. 

Moral : — 

'Truth crushed to earth shall rise again 
The eternal years of God are hers.' 

A hundred Snakes in a bush. 

The villagers were sitting one evening on- 
the J ChorA, when Faskft who had been out 
for a walk came running towards them breath- 
less, and sank down by their side without utter- 
ing a word. After allowing him to rest for a 
while, one of his friends asked him what had 
made him run so hard. " Thank God ! " said 
Faskii, " Were it not for Him, I should have 
been a dead man long ago." " Really ! " 

X Chor^ = Public place in a village. 


exclaimed his friends simultaneously. " Tell us 
what it was.'' " I had wearied myself to deaths 
with a brisk walk of several miles, when on 
seeing Madh^ Patel's farm at hand, I entered 
it and stretched my limbs under the cool shade 
of the nim-tree. I had hardly done so when 
I heard a rustling noise in the neighbouring 
bush. On looking round I saw something like 
a hundred snakes with their mouths wide open. 
They would have bitten me to death and eaten 
me all up, had I not made the best use of my 
legs. If it were one of you instead of me, 
you would have been frightened to death, I 
am sure! bub lam no coward, you know!" 

"We have seen the place and all the 
bushy places around it," said one of his friends. 
" There is not a single bush large enough ta 
hold a hundred snakes. We can't believe you, 
my friend. There must be some mistake as 
regards the number." 

"Well," said Fasktl, "if you think a 
hundred are too many, I am sure they were 
not less than fifty or sixty." 

" Too small a place to contain so many," 
replied his friend. " Try to form as correct 


iin estimate as you can and then let us know 
it." " They were crowded together," rejoined 
Fasku, " so it was not easy to count them all. 
However they were not less than twenty-five 
I can assure you." 

" This district," said his friend, " does not 
;abound in snakes. Again snakes are not very 
flocial creatures and so they donot move in 
companies. We seldom find them together. 
Donot exaggerate facts, my friend, but tell 
us the plain truth." 

"As you say they donot live much 
together," replied Fasku, " the number must be 
less. What if I say there were five or six 
of them." 

"Still we can't believe you. Take out 
the percentage you may have added, and give 
us the net result." 

" There must have been one at least. 
There is no doubt about that." 

" Must have been or must have not been 
IS not the question. Tell us how many you 
eaw with your own eyes." 

Being thus hard pressed, FaskA gave way 
And said, "To tell you the truth, I did not 


see even one! but then, how do you account 
for that rustling noise otherwise?" 

To this the assembled villagers rejoined, 
" You are a very brave man, indeed ! when 
mere noise frightens you so much, what would 
you do if confronted by a real snake?" 

Moral : — The credit got by a lie only lasts 
till the truth comes out. 


•Sluggards who prefer death to work*' 

One of the Emperors of Delhi was one 
day passing through the streets of the city, 
when his eyes fell on three beggars who 
were all in rags, and whose faces were covered 
with swarms of flies. On inquiry the Emperor 
learnt that they were too lazy to help them- 
selves. He ordered some food for them, but 
they would not hold out their hands to receive 
it. It was forcibly thrust into their mouths, 
and it wa& with great trouble that they could 
be prevailed upon to swallow it. The Emperor 


thought to himself that if he left them to 
their fate, they would succumb to a painful and 
lingering death, and so he ordered his Vizier 
to take them to a Government building and 
look after them. They were accordingly 
placed on a bullock cart and conducted to a 
building which was set apart for them,- and 
which was styled 'The Castle of Indolence.! 
A number of attendance was then empio^y^J 
to look after them and help them in every 
way. Then a Royal proclamation was issued 
to the effect that sluggards of every descriptioa 
would be freely admitted to the castle and 
supplied with free board and lodging. 

Fortunately for the poor it happened to 
be the year of a disastrous famine, and many 
a beggar contrived to get admission to the 
castle by feigning indolence. In a short time 
the castle was overcrowded with occupants, 
and so called sluggards were everyday pouring 
in from all parts of the Empire. The daily 
expenses of keeping up such an institution were 
very high, and the Emperor was at a loss to 
find a way out of the diflBculty. He summoned 
his Vizier who was a shrewd man, and asked 


hiin to devise some means of getting rid of the 
false sluggards. 

The Vizier accordingly repaired to the 
castle and ordered the superintendent to have 
a hedge of dry thorns made all round the 
building, leaving space for a small foot-path in 
front of the castle. When the hedge was ready, 
the Vizier ordered his men to set it on fire. 
The so-called sluggards seeing the Avhole com- 
pound ablaze wei'e thrown into confusion, and 
to save their lives they fled pell-mell leaving 
the whole of the building vacant ! 

The Emperor and the Vizier then entered 
the castle to see if any of its former inmates 
were left within. To their surprise they found 
all the rooms deserted except one in which 
were lying those three sluggards for whom the 
castle was originally opened. When the 
Emperor and the Vizier entered the room, they 
heard one of the sluggards saying to his com- 
panions, " Look there, my friends, the fire is 
rapidly progressing towards our room. It has 
been long burning and does not seem to be 
exhausted as yet." "I am not going to put 
myself to the unnecessary trouble of opening 


my eyes!" leisurely replied the second. 
" Can't you both be quiet ? " angrily exclaimed 
the third. 

The Emperor was surprised to find that 
there were persons on the face of the Earth 
who would not exert themselves a little to save 
their lives ! ha was so much disgusted by their 
conduct, that he asked them what they lived 
for if life was such a burden to them. To 
this they replied, *' Even death would cost us 
some exertion which we are not prepared to 
undergo. That is why we live ! " 

Moral : — The curse of sloth makes a man 
a burden to himself and to others, and his life 
is simply miserable. 

Too lazy to pick up berries. 

A SLUGGARD was One day quietly lying 
under a bore-tree (jujube tree). At a little 
distance from him, but quite within his reach, 


lay a few ripe berries. The sluggard longed 
to have them, but he did not like to put him- 
self to the trouble of extending his hand for 
the purpose. He therefore made up his mind 
to apply for help to the first passer by. 

After waiting thus for about half an hour, 
he saw a traveller, mounted on a camel going 
at full speed, pass by the tree. The sluggard 
asked him to stop for a while and reach him 
the berries. The traveller, greatly surprised 
at the odd request, said, "My friend, you do 
not seem to have thought what inconvenience 
and waste of time it would cause me to stop 
the camel, make it sit down, get down from 
it, collect the berries, put them into your 
mouth and then remount the camel ! Tha 
berries are lying quite within your reach, and 
you have only to stretch out your hand to get 
them. Why don't you do it?" "You are a 
great sluggard," said the lazy fellow. "You 
are no good. Go your own way. I will apply 
to some other person less lazy than yourself.',' 

The traveller left the place greatly amused. 

Mobal: — No one is willing to help a 
person who does not help himself. To do so 

30 iSdian folklore. 

would be lost labour — a writing upon water, a 
sowing upon sand. 


'Kankodi* is cleared off by worms, 
Soap is rotten, Iron is eaten up by mice 
and Hurbai is carried away by a kite.' 

There was once a great merchant named 
Adamji Mullali living in Cambay who dealt 
in a variety of goods both on his own account 
and also in the capacity of a commission 
agent. As Ca,mbay was a thriving seaport 
at the time, and things from different parts 
of the country were imported for sale, Adamji 
soon made a fortune and- established a sound 
reputation as an honest dealer. 

One day, a Banid, residing in a far off corner 
of India, arrived at his shop, bringing with 
him bags of Kankodi, boxes of soap and 
cart-loads of iron. Adamji accorded him a 

* Kankodi— A kiad of white powder. 


cordial reception and assured him that he 
would do what he could to dispose of the 
commodities at prices that would bring him 
a large profit. The samples were shown to 
Intending buyers, but the rates they offered 
were too low to be accepted. The Bani^, 
therefore, instructed the MAU^h to sell the 
things when prices were higher and leaving 
the goods with him, he went to his native 

After a. few months, the rates of all the 
three articles left by the Banid rose very high. 
The MAUah, consequently, sold off the goods, 
and collected and kept the cash to be paid 
to the Bania at some future date. On 
account of some unavoidable circumstances the 
BaniS, could not call for the money for a 
very long time. This neglect on his part 
induced the wily MAUah to misappropriate the 
sum. Adamji debited the sum to the BaniS,'s 
account as if it were paid off, and squared 
the account. 

After a few years had elapsed, the Bani^ 
fcame to Cambay and went directly to Adamji's 
shop and said, *[ Well, MMkh. S4heb, I hope 


you have disposed of the articles I left with 
you. Let us settle the account if you have." 
Adamji knowing well that if he showed the 
account books the false entry would be detected, 
began to beat about the bush that he might 
gain time to find out a plausible excuse by 
which the BaniS, might be deceived. He, there- 
fore, said, "I wish you had come earlier. I 
am sorry the idea of calling you in time did 
not strike me. I am very sorry, indeed!" 
"Why," replied the Bani4, "should you be 
sorry, my friend ? Have you sold them at a 
loss ? Or do any of the buyers refuse to pay ? " 

"That is not it. I am extremely sorry 
it should have so happened." 

" Then what is it ? I can't understand a 
word of what you say." 

Adamji then said, "Your things would 
have fetched a very good price, and left you 
a big margin; 'but the hare springs out when 
one least expects it.' Under your own eye, 
the things were heaped in my warehouse. Six 
months ago, when I went there to show 
samples thereof to a customer, I found the 
Kankodi eaten up by worms, the soap rotten 


and the iron eaten up by mice ! Several other 
articles belonging to m@ were also heaped along 
with yours and they too were damaged. But 
I don't claim any compensation from you, for, 
I know that you have already suffered very 
heavily 1 '' 

The Bania was too shrewd to be taken 
in like that. The Mullah's statement appeared 
to him quite absurd. The trick to rob him 
of his due was too transparent to deceive him. 
He, however^ put on a serious look and said, 
" Well, you need not be sorry for what has 
happened, though I quite fail to see how it 
did happen. But it sometimes does occur that 
'Likely lies in the mire when unlikely gets 
over. ' 

The Bania then hired rooms in the vici- 
nity of Adamji's house and stayed there wait- 
ing for an opportunity to recover the money 
with interest from the dishonest Mullah. One 
day when the Mullah's ^ittle girl was playing 
in the street he called her, took her to one of 
his rooms, gave her some toys and sweetmeits 
arid went about his own business quietly -awfiii- 
ing the result. 


It began to grow darli and tlie girl did 
not return home. The parents grew anxious, 
and Adamji inquired at every house she was 
iii the habit of frequenting, but she was no- 
where to be found. Quite overcome by fatigue, 
he was returning home at midnight, when the 
Bania called bim and asked him if anything 
unusual had happened. The Mullah related 
the mysterious disappear anca of his daughter 
and asked him if he had seen her in the even- 
ing. To this tho Banid replied, " I am sorry 
to inform you that I saw her being carried 
by a kite ! The poor girl was crying piteously, 
and I tried all I could to free her from its 
grasp, but in vain ! " " It is absurd,'' said the 
Mullah. "Why do you make fun of me?" 
" Upon my word, I tell you that I saw her 
with my own eyes ! " replied the Banid. 

As a thief is ever fancying the moon is 
up, so did the Mdlldh at once guess that it 
was the Banid's work and that he had kid- 
napped the girl^to serve his own purpose. 
Jiext morning he went to the Kdzi, and lodged 
a complaint against the Banil The ju%e 
summoned the accused and asked him if be 


had seen Adamji's girl. The Banid replied, 
"Yes, your worship, I saw her being carried 
away by a kite last evening; and I said so 
to my friend in reply to his inquiry." 

"Absurd!" said the Kkzi. " I can't be- 
lieve you." " Why, your worship ," retorted 
the Banid, "you can ask my friend and he 
will tell you that more absurd things have 
happened before now. To quote an instance : — 
I loft a few bags of Kankodi, several boxes 
of soap and a quantity of iron with Adamji 
for disposal a few years ago. When I asked 
him for payment, he told me that the first was 
cleared off by worms, the second was petrified 
and the third was eaten up by mice! In a 
place where worms and mice are so gigantic 
as to eat up Kankodi and iron and digest 
them, it is not to be wondered at if the kites 
carry away young child^^n J There is nothing 
absurd in it!" 

The judge asked Adamji whether the Ba* 
niA's statement was true and on learning that 
it was, he ordered the Mullah's books to be 
brought into the Court and examined, and the 
full amount that he owed to the Bani4 to be 


paid dowa there and then, Hurbai was then 
handed over to her loving father who quietly 
went hoirie. 

Moral; — Deceit deserves to be (deceived. 
The lesson taught is the necessity of keeping 
within the prescribed bounds of morality. 

Cf. The dosf and the wolf. \ ^ ^ > r u 
The Eafle and the fox. \ ^''P ' f'^'^''' 

* The long and short of a thing.' 

A Mahomedan and a Bania, who were 
great friends, passed much of their time 
together, and had no secrets from each 
other. lb happened that both were orphans, 
and one day when they were sitting together, 
the Bania asked his. friend how his father 
had died. " My father went to a gardeft, one 
day," said the Mussalmiin, ''and climbed a tree. 
As he was swinging to and fro, from the top- 
most branch, it suddenly gave way, and" my 
father fell down dead on the ground. Now 
tell me of, -jvhat did your father die ? " 


"My father," replied the Banih,, "was 
carried off in prime of life. On the evening 
of his 30th birthday, he ate too many sweet- 
meats which caused indigestion and that in 
its turn brought on fever. The temperature 
was so high that he bacame quite unconscious, 
and would neither take food nor talk to any- 
body. There was a burning sensation all over 
the body, and his tongue clove to the roof of 
his mouth. This gave him a sore throat, and 
made us all very anxious about him. We had 
to sit by his bed day and night, and had, be- 
sides, to attend to all our relatives and friends 

who came from distant places to see him ■' 

"How did it all end?" impatiently 

demanded his friend. "I am coming to that 
presently," said the Bania, " We tried various 
medicines, but they did him no good. We 
then called in Vithlk Barber who, as you know, 
is reputed to be the best physician in our town, 
but he too could do nothing. We then thought 
that perhaps a ghost was troubling him, so 
the persons who could repeat charms and 
drive away the evil spirits were summoned ; 
but they too gave up the case as hopeless. 


Medicinea and Mantras| were alike useless." 
" My friend," interrupted the Mahomedan, 
"you are becoming more and more tedious. 
When will your father die t Let me know 
that. " " Everything," replied the Banid, " will 
come in its proper place. Be patient. I have 
not yet done with the symptoms. The tem- 
perature rose higher and higher and at last it 
rose to 106°. Consciousness then forsook him, 
and he began to rave like a mad man. We 
had his head bathed in rose-water, but that 
did not allay the fever a bit. We then gave 
him a cold bath, which instead of doing him 
any good, brought on Pneumonia. Every 
moment the symptoms grew worse and more 
alarming. A few hours had thus elapsed when 
his strength began to give way. His hand& 
and feet grew icy cold. He could not hear 
what we said and his eye-sight began to fail. 
The end, it seemed, was speedily approaching, 
and we thought it was high time to read to 
him religious Shlok&,s,* and give what we 
could in charities that might stand him in 

X Mantras = Charms. 
* Sblokas = Verses. 


good stead in the next world, and entitle hin:i 
to a place in the Swarga.f Then " 

The Mahomedan who was quite tired of 
listening to the story which he thought would 
never end, exclaimed, "Why don't you cut 
it short and say that the fever killed him ? 
That, I think, is the long and short of it. '' 

"You asked me," said the Bania, "how 
my father died, and I was telling you what 
had actually happened. If you are in a hurry, 
we will talk about it some other time." 

Moral: — Avoid always the round about 
way of telling a story. Let your answers be 
short and to the point. 


' To be very liberal with other 
people's money. ' 

There lived a Vohor^- named MtHs^bhdi 
in Siddhapur, who belonged to a good family 
and had once been very rich ; but a great 

t Swarga = Heaven. 


loss in trade had greatly impoverished him. 
He was, with great difficulty, living from hand 
to mouth, whan his father died, on which 
ceeasion his caste fellows had to be fed, whe- 
ther he could afford it or not. MAsabh&,i was 
a sensible man, and he, therefore, did not think 
it safe to incur a debt that would cripple hini 
for life, in order to feed people who >yould 
speak well of hiai for a few days, and then 
leave him to take care of himself as best as 
he could. When his relatives and the leading 
persons of the Jamt\t* came to know of his 
resolve, they went to him and said, " A 
father's death and a wife's first pregnancy do 
not occur twice in one's lifetime. Both the 
occasions must, therefore, be duly celebrated. 
Again, you come of a family who are well- 
known for their generosity, and you should 
not tarnish their fair name by falling short of 
your duty cu the jDresent occasion. " 

MusS,bhai thought to himself that the 

fellows ought to be taught a lesson, and with 

this object in view, he expressed his willing- 

pcss to follow their advice, and a day was 

* Jamat = MussalD]an Community. 


fixed for feeding the Jamfit. 

Every community in all towns have a 
number of cooking pots and dishes of brass 
which are lent out to those who intend giving 
caste-dinners, as a private individual cannot 
possibly have vessels enough for an occasion 
like this. Mdsdbh^i, therefore, borrowed all 
the brass and copper pots, secretly mortgaged 
them for about a thousand rupees, and bought 
flour, ghee, sugar and other articles requiced 
for the occassion. 

On the appointed day the whole commu- 
nity sat down to dinner, and a variety of 
sweetmeats was served to them. Mus4bhdi, 
with a fan in one hand, and a cup of cold 
water in the other, was moving from dish to 
dish, and was pressing everyone to do full 
justice to the homely fare, as he called it. 
The guests were loud in their praises of the . 
generosity of the host, to which the latter 
promptly and appropriately replied, " It is 
very kind of you to say so, but it is all your 
own, my friends; nothing is mine except 
water and air ! " The guests could not under- 
stand the deep and hidden meaning conveyed 


in the reply, and ascribed it to M&sdbh&i's 
modesty and good breeding. After dinner all 
went home, much pleased with the entertain- 

Many days passed but Musabhdi did not 
return the vessels he had borrowed. When 
the person in whose charge they were kept 
went to him and asked for the vessels, MAs^- 
bhdi cooly replied, " I told the Jamdt to their 
very faces that what they were eating was 
their own and not mine. I spoke the truth 
when I said so, for, it was with the money 
that their vessels fetched, that I purchased 
articles ojF food and fed them. I have not, 
however, sold them, but simply mortgaged 
them. If the Jamd,t want them, they are 
welcome to pay the thousand rupees with in- 
terest to banker so and so , and take back the 
vessels." The Jamat had to raise fund to pay 
the banker, and from that time they gave up 
meddling with other people's business. 

MoEAL : — It is a custom and a very ruin- 
ous one among the natives of India to spend 
extravagantly on death and marriage occasions. 
Not only do they not provide for their children, 


but often loave them heavy debts to pay. 

It is a suicidal policy to waste what little 
we have; for, requirements of old age and 
need of rest, are things inevitable, and ought 
to be provided for. 


" Why do ,they go to Malwa ? They 
might as well stay at home and eat 
Khaja* and sugar. " 

In times gone by a, disastrous famine over- 
took the province of Gujardt. Owing to the 
failure of crops, the ryots prepared to emigrate 
to M&,lwa in the hope of procuring food for 
themselves and fodder for their cattle. One 
morning, a number of ryots on their way to 
MMwa passed by the royal palace, when the eyes 
of the crown prince, who was making merry 
with his friends and feasting on Khaja and 
other sweetmeats, fell upon them. He asked 
one of the attendants where they were going. 
* KhS,jS,=A kind of sweetmeat. 


"They are emigrating to Mahv^, '' repliel the 
man, " owing to the scarcity of food and fodder 
here." " Why do they do so ?" exclaimed 
the prince. "They might as well stay at 
home and eat Khaj^ aud sugar. " 

This made them all laugh. One of his 
friends said, " You are born in gold and purple 
and do not, therefore, know what hardships 
these poor people have to undergo in times 
like these. Persons rolling in wealth' and 
surrounded by luxuries cannot realize the 
miseries of the poor. Why talk of Khdja and 
sugar, when they cannot even get Bajrif bread 
and an onion?" The prince could not under- 
stand him, so he remarked that if Bajri was 
scarce, they might eat wheat instead ! " " Bajri 
or wheat," remarked his friend, "does not make 
any difference. The thing is they have not 
money to buy either. These people are chiefly 
dependent on their crops, and when they fail, 
they are reduced to helplessness. Unfortu- 
nately, we have not opened any ' Relief works ' 
that they might earn enough to keep body 
and soul together. There is, therefore, no other 

t Bajri = Millet; a sort of food grain. 


help for them but to leave this land and go to 
MahvA which is free from famine this year. 
You may have heard the proverb which says, 
* Rain is the mightiest of monarchs who sup- 
ports the whole world, and mother's is the best 
and most wholesome milk. ' " 

Moral: — Secure ourselves, we too often 
view with indilFerence the dangers of others,' 
for, none knows the weight of another's burden. 


All the people of the town eat 
rice and milk. " 

The Emperor Akabar had in his court a 
jester named LahAwa who was well-known for his 
wit and humour. One day when the Emperor 
was in good huinour the jester said, " There 
are a good many cows and buffaloes in your 
durbar, while most of th^ people of the town 
do. not even get good milk. Rice of good 
quality is to be had abundantly, but without 
fresh and pure milk it is of no use." The Em- 


peror divining the jester's meaning asked him 
■whether he was making a personal complaint 
or one on behalf of the whole town. " I don't 
live outside the town," replied the jester, 
" and am therefore included therein " " I can't," 
said the Emperor, " supply the whole town 
with buffaloes, but if you want one, you can 
have it." The jester thankfully accepted the 
offer and drove one of the finest buffaloes 
to his house. 

After a few days the Emperor again 
asked LahAwa how the people were getting 
on ; to which the jester replied, " They are 
all getting on nicelj", your Majesty. They 
are all eating rice and milk and are quite 
happy and contentel." " The othar day, " 
responded Akabar, " y^u were complaining 
that good milk was not to be had. I did 
not supply them all with cows aid buffaloes. 
You were the only pers )n who profited by 
the complaint. How does it happen then, that 
they are cdl having ^oad milk ? •' "It is the 
world's way, not mine alone, your Majesty \ 
for, he who is warm thinks everyone eJ«e \%.'* 



'Allah has already l^en His due.' 

A Fakeer,]: who lived on public charity 
and made a Musjid § his home, once prayed to 
A114h to befriend him, as he was unable to 
support the pangs of poverty any longer ; and 
vowed that if he got a rupee he would spend 
a quarter of it in charity and keep three 
quarters for himself. 

As he was one day walking along the 
streets, he accidentally found a rupee. He was 
much pleased with his good fortune, but when 
he remembered his vow, he began to regret 
that he had made it. On consideration, he bade 
good-bye to the vow, as his object was attained. 
With a view to buy some food, he went to a 
Bani&, to get the rupee changed. The Banid, 
after carefully examining the coin, said, " S^i, | 
the rupee is defaced and of short weight; it 
will therefore fetch four annas less ! " The 
Fakeer took the rupee to several places, but 

X Fftkeer, 8^1= A religious mendicaut. 
I Musjid ss A mosque. 


everywhere he met with the same reply; at 
last he grew weary and exclaimed, "Allah 
knew that I was not honest, and He seems, 
therefore, to have taken His due, instead of 
trusting me to pay it ! " 

Moral :— Selfish persons bid good-bye to 
the basket when grapes are gathered, and think 
they will have no further occasion for it. But 
the ways of Providence are inscrutable. 


Gabha^ in place of Gambha.'t 

Times are changing and landed properties 
too change hands every now and then. There 
was a time when the little village of Gdmbhft 
in K&,thiS,war belonged to tailors, and that is 
why they are known by the nick-name of 
GrS,si^s t of GAmbhA even at the present day. 

1i Gabha = Kags. 

J GAmbau = iiame of a village.. 

t Grd9iA=:Gra3 or land holder. 


Gambhil, when it was in the hands of the 
tailors, was invaded by a neighbouring Rajput 
prince, and the tailors had to surrender to the 
victor. When the tailors Hving in other parts 
of the province heard this sad news, they re- 
solved to re-capture the village. With this 
object in view they sent messengers to every 
place, and in a short time a large body of 
tailors with Gaj f and scissors assembled in 
the vicinity of G^mbhii. 

Towards the evening, one day, a council 
of war was held to settle what time would be 
most convenient for the attack. After a long 
and hot discussion it was decided that they 
should pass, the night outside the village, and 
at dawn of day, when the gates opened, they 
should^ rush into the village, and occupy all 
the important places. 

With the firm resolve of attacking the" 
village in the morning, they laid themselves 
down in a long line beginning from the village 
gate. They were so many that the line, so 
formed was about a mile in length. 

Now the tailor lying nearest the gate 
t Gaj = A measure two feet in length. 


thought that he would be the first man to fall 
into the hands of the enemy in case of a sur- 
prise during the night. He, therefore, rose 
from his place, passed along the line and lay 
down at the other extremity, thinking himself 
quite safe there. His neighbour, the second 
in order, who was watching his movements, did 
the same. He was followed by the third and 
so on. Thus they all kept on moving through- 
out the night. By the time the sun rose 
next morning, they had receded more than teu 
miles from the village ! 

As was arranged, they prepared for the 
attack, but neither the village nor its gate were 
to be seen ! Finding themselves in a forest, 
some of them exclaimed, " What has takea 
place during the night ? We remember to have 
gone to sleep near the gate of GambhA ! Some 
DevaJ or Rakshasa§ must have carried us to 
this place ! " At this an old and experienced 
tailor, who had witnessed the nocturnal march 
of his brethren, retorted, " My friends, we 
had better go home and mind our own busi- 

X Deva = A God. 

§ Eakshasa=A demon. 


ness. We are all cowards and that is what 
has moved us all so far from the village." 

Being ashamed of their conduct, they 
quietly went home, and began to ply their 
needles as was their wont ? This has given 
rise to the proverb, ' GibhS, in place of G4m- 
bhd;' which if repeated in the presence of a 
tailor, at once rouses his anger even at the 
present day. 

Moral; — Vain pretenders give themselves 

hectoring airs and assume to be braver than 

they really are. Such persons are ever in 

danger of being discovered and then they are 

exposed to the ridicule and humiliation of the 


Cf. 'The Ass in the 7 ^ , r, ,, 
Lion's skin.' \ ^^ops Fables, 

A Fool's bolt is soon shot. 

A KoLi had married a girl whose parents 


never sent her to his house, Whenever 
the poor fellow went to bring her home with 
him, he was flatly told that the girl was un- 
able to walk a step, for, that would take the 
paint off her. feet which were always kept 
coloured with the Mendi-juice.J 

Failing to gain the consent of her parents 
either by threats or persuasion, the husband 
at last thought of carrying her away secretly. 
With this intention, he went to the town 
where his father-in-law resided, and before exe- 
cuting his project, he informed the leading 
persons of his cp,ste of his intention. They 
went with him to the bride's house and per- 
suaded lier father to send his daughter with 
her husband, saying, " It is not safe for 
a grown up girl to live with her parents. 
She must either go to her husband's house or 
to the burning ground. There is no other 
alternative. If you won't hand her over to 
her husband at once, we will excommunicate 
you; and that will bring you into great 
trouble." The threat of excprnmunication brousrht 
the obstinate father to his senses, and he 

X Mendi = Lawsonia Iiiermis. 


agreed to send her ori condition that on no 
account should the paint on her feet be al- 
lowed to wear off. The poor husband agreed 
and bought a pair of slippers to keep the 
colour wearing off. 

Next morning the couple left the town. 
At noon they reached the bank of a river. 
The river must be crossed and that too with- 
out washing the paint off her feet ! That was 
a great problem and not an easy one. The 
fertile brain of the husband, however, found 
a way out of it. He lifted his bride on his 
shoulders, and loaded with a weight of about 
10 stone he began to cross the river. The 
water grew deeper and deeper, and by the time he 
reached the middle of the stream, it touched her 
feet. The poor fellow was again in a fix. Any- 
how the paint must be preserved and the only 
way to do it was to hold her head downwards ! 
The woman began to cry piteously, but her 
husband was raindful only of the stipulation 
which he made up his mind to fulfil even at 
the risk of his wife's life ! Water began to 
get into the woman's mouth, ears and nostrils, 
and she was soon strangled. 


When he reached the opposite bank, some 
people who had watched this strange proceed- 
ing, began to reproach the man for his cruel 
conduct, to which the Koli replied, "You 
speak thus because you don't know the facts. 
I had to preserve the paint on her feet at 
any cost and I have done it. I am not to 
blame for the result. I have kept my promise 
to her parents and that is all I care for, !" 

Moral : — Obstinacy tends to make us 
negligent of approaching peril. Let us be- 
ware when engrossed by obstinacy that we 
do not come to grief. 

Cf. 'Fools rush in where angels fear to 


"Happen what may, I won't add to it 
another grain." 

Two Memons* of Morvi — uncle and nephew-* 
■v^ith tin boxes containing false pearls, combs, 
* Memon = A class of Mahomedans. 


essences and other small wares, went pedling 
about the country. When they were re- 
turning home after dispo3ing of their goods, 
they came to a Juwdri-fieldJ at the sight of 
which the nephew exclaimed, "This is the 
most fertile soil I ever saw. The ears are 
bending down under the weight of grain. It 
will bring in a nice crop to its lucky owner, 
won't it ? " 

" That it will," replied his uncle. " How 
much JAw^ri do you think the field will pro- 
duce ? " " Not less than 120 maunds, I am 
sure." " You don't mean what you say, do 
you ? For myself, I estimate, it at 60 maunda 
and not a grain more." 

"You do injustice to the poor owner by 
forming too low an estimate of the product." 

The uncle getting rather excited, retorted, 
" Look at ray beard, my boy. It has not 
grown white without bringing to its owner 
an adequate amount of espei'ience of the world 
to guide misguided youths like you." "The 
brains do not lie in the beard, my good sir," 
replied his nephew hotly. " You are talking 
J JAw&ri=A kind of food grain. 


nonsense, and no wonder ; for, old age is 
second childhood." 

" Wretch," shouted the uncle, " I can't 
put up with your impudence any longer. Out 
of my sight, you idiot." 

" Take care ! Never show your teeth 
unless you can bite, you old dog. Keep quiet 
or I shall knock out your brains." 

" You urchin," roared the old man ; " let 
me see you do it." 

The boy at once took the box off his 
shoulders, put it on the ground, and giving a 
twist to his mustache, he seized his uncle, who 
was too weak to withstand the attack, by the 
beard, and brought him to the ground. The 
old man tried to free himself from the vice-like 
grip of his nephew, but in repeated attempts 
to do so, the hair of his beard came out in 
handfuls. The boy refused to let go his hold 
unless he admitted that the field would pro- 
duce not less than 120 maunds of jdwAri. 
Regardless of the result, and although in im- 
minent danger of losing his venerable beard, 
the old man exclaimed, " Happen what may, 
I won't add another grain to it." 


Moral :^Do not make much ado about 

Even a snake laid by may have its use. * 

SoMOHAND, a Bani^ of Baroda, was day 
and night impressing upon his wife and children 
that everything, however trivial, has its use, and 
nothing should, therefore, be thrown away as 
useless. Even dust and ashes he collected and 
sold them to cultivators for manure. 

His children did not like the ways of 
their father, and once when his eldest son made 
bold to suggest that he was laughed at and 
commented upon for his miserly habit, he 
■quietly answered, " Do what you will, when 
you become the head of the family. What I 
have been doing is the result of long experience 
and I mean to stick to it. You talk of dust 
and ashes being useless rubbish and not worth 
collecting, but I say that not even a snake 


laid by is without its use at some proper time. 
I have nothing to do with the opinion of 
others, and I care not for what they say." 
" You may be right, father,'' said the son, 
" but for myself, I don't quite see the use of 
a snake laid by." " I will explain it to you 
when the time comes," replied the father. 

One day, the dead body of a snake hap- 
pened to be lying on the road. The boys 
picked it up, brought it to their fathei-, and 
asked him to explain to them the use of it, 
" Throw it on the roof of the house and 
wait for a few days," said the father. 

Now it so happened that the king's wife,^ 
one day, went to take a bath on the terrace 
of the palace; and putting off her clothes and 
ornaments placed them on a divan lying by, 
A kite flying overhead happened to catch sight 
of her neck-lace set with lustrous diamonds, and 
taking it for a suitable prey, pounced upon 
it and carried it away. She soon found out 
her mistake and was in search of somethinor 
eatable, when her eyes fell on the dead body 
of the snake lying on the Bania'a roof. She 
laid down the neck-lace on the roof and snatch- 


ing the snake instead, flew away with it. 

The Rani,t who had seen the kit& fly 
away with her neck-lace, hastily put on her 
clothes, ran immediately to the king, and in- 
formed him of what had happened. The king 
at once proclaimed it throughout the town and 
offered a handsome reward of Ss- 10,000 to 
anyone who brought back the neck-lace. When 
Somchand heard this he asked his eldest son 
to see if the kite had left it on his roof. 
"For," said he, "jewels, however costly, are 
of no earthly use to a kite, and she is sure to 
have dropped it somewhere. She may have 
exchanged it for the snake lying on our roof." 

The boy at once climbed up on the roof, 
and with the neck-lace in his hands, ran down 
again, evidently pleased with his father's 
wisdom and foresight. 

The Bania took it to the king and claimed 
the reward which was readily granted. On 
his return home, he said to his children, " I 
hope you are now convinced of the truth of 
my statement that, "Even a snake laid by 
has its use," 

t Rani = A Queen. 


Moral : — Trifles make perfection and per- 
fection is no triflie. 

"You are not blind though the spear is." 

A Mahomedan named Mekhm^rkMa, who 
lived in Dholkd,, owned several acres of land 
that brought him in good crops ; so that he 
had no anxiety as to his bread. From early 
morning till late at night he sat in the Chora,! 
surrounded by the idlers and gossips of the 
place. Thrice a day they indulged in a copi- 
ous drink of opium and wine, and smoked 
hemp and tobacco all day long. 

One evening the whole set of opium-eaterS 
went out for a walk. They were highly in- 
toxicated and staggered as they passed along 
the road. Mekhm&.rkh^n carried with him a 
spear, which remained perpendicular as long 
as the holder thereof was in his senses, but it 
soon assumed a horizontal position, and several 
J ChorA = A public place in a village. 


persona passing along the road were hurt by it ; 
but the poor people, could not raise their voice 
against their landlord and had to submit. A 
leading banker, belonging to the place, was 
coming from the opposite direction, and he 
was struck by the spear. Blood began to 
flow copiously from the wound. The banker 
humbly requested the Midn either to leave his 
spear at home or hold it properly, to which 
the Moslem indignantly replied, "We land- 
owners can not go out without a spear or a 
sword ; as to holding it properly, it is through 
your own negligence that you are hurt ; for, 
you are not blind though the spear is." 

The banker was enraged at the Jagirdar's § 
indifference and insolence. He called a meeting 
of the leading citizens at which it was resolved 
that as it was not safe to reside in the town 
any longer, they should all leave it in a body. 
When the Kdzi heard this, he went to 
the Jdgird^r, rebuked him for his misconduct 
and said, *' you, know that fine feathers make 
fine birds ; so, when your people, on whom you 
depend entirely for your daily bread, have left 
§ Jagirddr = A landholder. 


you, what will you do, and how can you 
manage to get on without them ? You exist 
for your people's benefit, not they for yours, 
that you should use them as you please. Go 
to them this instant and ask their pardon for 
the harm you may have done them, and pro- 
mise never to repeat it." 

Mekhmarkh&n did as he was advised, and 
the people, satisfied with his promise, returned 
home and lived in peace. 

Moral: — In the world examples of petty 
tyrannies, arising out of a sense of superior 
might, constantly abound. Might often over- 
comes right and the weakest have to go to 
the wall. But 

" Beason and right are themselves most strong; 
No kingdom got by cunning can stand long." 

STOKY xxr. 

•'I will have her if I can; if not, 
what do I lose? 

A Patidar* named Mathurdas, who lived 
* PAtiddr = A iand-holder. 



in a town of Gujard,t, had no childeren ; so, 
both he and his wife determined to go on a 
•pilgrimage to Dd,kore, and started in their 
own bullock cart. On reaching Dkkore, they 
bathed in the sacred waters of the Gomti, and 
performed the Piija^ of Shri Ddkore-Natha,t 
after receiving the impress of the shell, Disc, 
Mace and Lotus — the symbols of Krishna— 

on their arms, they left the place. 

Half way between D^kore and their native 
town, a blind beggar was sitting by the road- 
side, with a rosary in his hand and uttering 
the name of R&ma every moment. The woman 
felt pity for the poor man, and asked him 
where he was going, to which the beggar re- 
plied, '• M4i,§ I am blind and have lost my 
way. If you will kindly take me with you 
as far as Naridd, Ranchhodji* will bless you 
with seven children and inexhaustible riches 
for helping a poor blind man. The woman 

X PujS, = Worship. 

t Shri Dakore-Nath=The Lord of Dakore i. Bj 

§ Mai = Mother. 
* Ranchhodji = Krishna. 


appealed to her husband who was anything 
but pleased with the physiognomy and bearing 
of the ' S^dhA * " Never trust to appearances, 
my dear," said the husband, " for, all that 
glitters is not gold. Again he is a stranger 
and may bring us into trouble. We had better 
show him the way and then leave him to him- 
self." The Patiddr was, however, prevailed 
upon by the entreaties of his wife and the 
importunities of the begger. They took him 
along with them and proceeded on their journey. 

In the evening they reached Nari^d where 
the P^tidar asked the SArd^sJ to get down. 

" Whom do you ask to get down ? '' asked 
SArdds. " You, my good friend," said the 
Piitid^r, " I promised to take you as far as 
Naridd, and here we are at its gates. We have 
still a long way to go, and you had better 
make haste." To this SArdds answered, " I have 
hired your cart for myself and my wife, and 
now you ask us to get down before we have 
reached our destination ! be it so, I won't pay 
you a pie. Ask my wife to help me down ! 

* iSadhu = A religious mendicant, 
J Surdds = A blind man. 


" Your wife ! " cried the Pdtid^r ; "you 
know as well as I do that the woman sitting 
in the cart is my wife and not yours." 

" What! you mean to rob me of her, do 
you 2 " Then addressing the woman he said, 
" Why don't you say something to the rogue 1 " 

" Stird^s," she replied, "you are a most 
ungrateful wretch and a liar besides. I did 
not know that you were a wolf in a sheep's 
clothing, or I would never have offered you 
a seat. Get down this moment, or we will 
pitch you out." 

" So you are in league with the rogue, 
are you ? " demanded SArdds. "It is indeed 
very clever of him to have won over my wife. 
I shall, at once, go and ask the judge of this 
place to help me out of difficulty." 

The PdtidAr had to stop at Nariid for 
the night. After supper, the judge called them 
severally and examined them privately. The 
Flitiddr was called upon to produce a witness 
who could declare on oath that they were 
husband and wife. This he could not do as 
he was quite a stranger in that part of the 
country. The judge, at last, hit upon a plan 


which he thought would bring out the fact. 
He ordered all the three persons to be locked 
in separate rooms for the night, and instructed 
the guards to keep awake the whole night to 
listen attentively to what they said, and to 
report it to him next morning. 

Naturally, the Patidar and his wife passed 
the whole night in loud lamentations and in 
reproaching themselves for having helped an 
undeserving wretch ; while on the other hand, 
SArdlbs was heard to say, "If the woman is 
handed over to me, so much the better. If 
not, what do I lose?" 

The facts were duly reported to the judge, 
next morning, who handed over the woman to 
her lawful husband, and sent S<irdS,s on a 
pilgrimage to T6rangabS,d (prison). 

Moral: — How often do men bring the 
calamities of life upon themselves and incur 
uncalled for liabilities on the assurances of 
persons whose later conduct proves them to 
be unworthy of confidence. Sudden trust brings 
Budden repentance. 

" If you trust before you try, 
you may repent before you die." 


Cf. The Kite and Pigeons— ^sop's Fables. 

150 for the beard, whereas 400 for 
the Chotit " 

In Kapadvanja there once lived a Vohord 
named Ism&,lji, who, as he was returning home 
from his shop one dark night,, was confronted 
by a thief, who caught hold of the Vohora's 
beard and would not let it go unless and until 
he paid Ss-. 150. This happened just in front 
of the Vohora's house. As if he were address- 
ing his wife, the Mullah exclaimed " Do you 
hear! the thief here demands 150 rupees as 
the price of my beard. Bring the money here 
at once, for, if he lets it go and catches hold 
of the Choti, which is of greater importance 
and consequently of greater value, and then 
demands 400 rupees for it, we shall have to 
pay it ! why not then pay 1^50 and make a 

t Choti or Chotali = Hair on the head. 


saving of 250 ? " The greedy thief released 
his hold on the beard and at once made for 
the hair on the head, for he knew not that 
the Vohoras as a class do not wear Choti. 

This presence of miad stood the Vohora 
in good stead; for, as soon as he found him- 
self free, he ran into his house and shut the 
door against the unwelcome visitor who went 
away bemoaning his own folly and covetousness. 

Moral: — Catch not at the shadow and 
lose the substance. The story contains a cau- 
tion against excessive greed which often time 
misses what it aims at, 

Cf. -The Dog and 7 ^,^^,^ ^^^^^,^ 

the shadow" J 


"Plate this club with gold! " 

A BEGGAR was begging alms in the BazJlr, 
with a thick club in his hand. Passing from 
shop to shop, he arrived at a goldsmith's who 
was hammering a piece of gold into leaf. The 


tempting yellow metal attracted the beggar's 
eye, and no wonder; for, nothing can with- 
stand the power of gold. He was a beggar 
by profession and avarice had blinded his eyes. 
Without considering, therefore, the reasonable- 
ness or otherwise of the demand, he asked the 
goldsmith to plate his club with gold ! The 
goldsmith looked up and stared at the beggar, 
for some time, in surprise, at which the latter 
exclaimed, " Well my boy, don't you hear 
me ? Plate this club with gold, and God will 
bless you." " Gold is not to be had for ask- 
ing," said the goldsmith. " You seem to have 
lost your head or you would not make such 
an unreasonable demand." " Asking for it has 
cost me nothing ; had you met my demand, you 
would have been the loser and not II'' so 
saying he left the place. 

Moral: — Gold is the dust that blinds 
all eyes. 


*'■ No, by my grandfather, I am not hungry.'* 


A CouNTRTMAK once visited the city of 
Ahmedabad, and put up with a distant relative 
of his who lived there. The prosperous citizen set 
before his country guest a good supply of deli-^ 
cious food and pressed him to do full justice 
to it. After dinner he served him with P^n- 
Supari as dessert. The villager, thinking it to- 
be another dish, said, " I have had enough 
food. I won't take any more." " Ifc will help 
digestion," said his host, " and do you good." 
" But I tell you I am not hungry. You have; 
not eaten much, so you might take it." 

Hospitality forbids me to taste it unless 
you take some." 

" By my grandfather," exclaimed the visitor, 
" I am not hungry. If I were, I wouldn't have 
left that leaf " — meaning the plantain leaf on 
which the food was served ! 

Out of regard to the feelings of his igno- 
rant guest, the host refrained from explaining 
to him that Pan-Supari was no food, but a 
sort of dessert to be taken after each meal. 


" I give you all the buffaloes of the town." 

A Company of itinerant actors were once 
playing in a street of Dhrdngadhrd. After 
going through several performances, they 
brought in a dancer who played his part ex- 
quisitely and faultlessly. Gifts began to pour 
in from the audience. A Bania named La- 
poddfis, who was greatly charmed with the 
performance, offered a buffalo in a moment 
of excitement; but the next instant he waa 
sorry for what he had done, and wished to 
recall the offer if he could do so by any means. 

Next came two actors in the characters 
of an ill-assorted couple. Seizing the opportu- 
nity, the Bania, as though greatly pleased, 
offered two buffaloes more. A little later he 
offered ten. Towards the end of the play, he 
got up from his seat and cried out, " I give 
you all the buffaloes of the town ! " 

The bystanders and the actors thought the 
Banii had lost his senses, or he would not have 
made such an absurd offer ; for, he had no 


right to give away the buffaloes belonging to 
other people. By feigning insanity, the Ba- 
nia thus easily recalled the original oflfer,-and 
congratulated himself on his ingenuity. 

MoRA.0 : — A promise breaker is never at 
a loss for an evasion. 


'Law licks up all.' 

A Bania named Oghad once lived in a 
village of K^thiS-wir. In the same compound 
^tood the house of another Bania B&md>. Both 
had a common claim on the unbuilt land con- 
stituting the compound. With the intention 
of adding a room to his house, Oghad measured 
the space between the two houses and drove 
a peg therein. 

R^md, instead of proceeding to a law court, 
went before the Mah^jana§ and lodged a com- 

§ AlahAjana = Leading persons of the BaniA Com- 
n} unity. 


plaint against his neighbour. The Mahajana 
went with him, examined the land under dis- 
pute and were satisfied as to the justice of Ra- 
ma's complaint. They summoned Oghad and 
asked him to remove the peg from the land 
that was their common property. To this re- 
quest, Oghad replied, "The land belongs to 
me and I am therefore justified in doing what 
I will with it. " It does not belong to you 
alone,'' was the reply of the Mahajana ; "you 
can't misappropriate it with impunity. If Rama 
goes to law, it will go hard with you." " Who 
says I have misappropriated it ? " Demanded 

"We say so;" responded the Mahajana, 
*' Remember that the voice of the people is 
the voice of God. It is for your own good 
that we ask you to remove the peg." 

"Ah! I know that very well and am 
thankful to you for your excellent advice;" 
sneered Oghad. "But the peg is where it 
ought to be and I am not going to take it out." 

" You obstinate brute," replied the Maha- 
jana, " if you won't listen to us now, it will 
be too late to grieve when that chance is past." 


"Mahajana are my Ma-bapJ, but I am sorry 
I can't remove the peg for them ; " was the 
final answer of Oghad. 

The Mahdjana did all they could to dis- 
suade Oghad from doing an injustice to his 
neighbour, but when they found that nothing 
would make him change his mind, they advised 
the aggrieved party to file a suit against him 
in a law-court. 

R^md did as he was advised, and he sum- 
moned the Mah§,jana as witnesses who dec- 
lared on oath that the land in question was 
common property. The judge ordered Oghad 
to remove the peg at once and pay the ex- 
penses of the suit. Moreover, Oghad had to 
engage pleaders and shut up his shop for 
several days, which entailed a heavy drain 
upon his small resources. He came to his 
senses at last, but not till all was consumed, 
and repentance was too late. 

Moral : — Avoid law-suits above all things ; 
they affect your conscience, impair your health 
and dissipate your property. 

X Ma-bap = Parents. 


'Fools and obstinate persons enrich the 
lawyers,' says an Italian Proverb. 


*' Something, if you could but tell what." 

Once upon a time, the Emperor Akabar 
asked his favourite jester Lali<iw^ which was 
the most prudent and circumspect community, 
to which Lahiiw^ replied that the Banias were. 

" Nonsense ! " said Akabar. " They are 
most clumsy fellows." " They look clumsy, 
no doubt ; but all the same, they are very 
thoughtful ; " responded Lahtiwd. Whereupon 
the Emperor ordered him to prove it to him. 

LahAwA at once ordered a maund of Maga* 
from the royal granary, and summoning a few 
Banias from the Bazar,- he asked them what 
it was. The Banias thought to themselves 
that it must be out of policy or for some secret 
purposo that the question was asked. They 

• Mag=A kind of pulse. 


resolved, therefore, not to name the thing, and 
when questioned again by Lahuwa, one of them 
said, " It is a sort of food grain." " You are 
quite right, " said another Bania. " Besides 
■when we pound it into meal and take off the 
husks, it tastes delicious!" "Quite so!" as- 
sented a third Bania. " I like it very much." 

" But what do you call it ? " demanded 
the Emperor. 

" Is n't it AdadJ ? " asked one Bania to 
another. " No; " replied his companion. 
" Adad is black whereas this is green." " It 
can't be pepper either," added the third; " for, 
that is also black." 

At this the Emperor became very angry,' 
and losing patience, he exclaimed, " you are a 
pack of idiots. Don't you see it is Maga 1 " 
" So it is ! " cried out the BanilLs simultane* 
ously. " The name had escaped our memories." 

LahAwA then asked them to repeat the 
name to which the sly Banias replied, " His 
ICajesty is quite right. We too call it by 
the same name." Then turning to the Emperor 

^ Adad = A kind of pulse. 


they asked, " what do you call it, Your 

The Emperor was convinced that if not 
wise, the Banias were at least the most circum-^ 
spect community he had ever seen. 

A sequel to the above. 

But after this the Emperor Akabar wished 
to take in the Banids by some means or other» 
and he asked Lahuwa to show him a trick by 
which he could do so. The jester advised him 
to go a hunting, kill a wild boar, drag it ta 
the gates of Delhi, hang it there and then ask 
the Banids what it was. If they said, "*A 
boar, your Majesty*" they were liable to be 
punished for abusing their sovereign. 

Next day, the Emperor did as Lahuwa 
had suggested, and summoning the leaders of 

• A boar, Your Majesty* =» Means ia Qujarati 
'Your Majesty is a boar. 


the Bani^ community he asked them what the 
animal was. Th5 BaniAs at once perceived that 
it was a trick of Lahuwa's to entrap them. 
They resolved therefore, to refrain from calling 
the beast by its proper name, and to try the 
Emperor's patience by beating about the bush. 
When, therefore, asked again by the Emperor, 
one of them said, " It looks like an elephant 
kept without food and water for a long time 
and consequently reduced ! " A second 
Banid after consideration replied, "It is too 
small for an elephant. I think it is a large 
wild cat ! " " Don't you see it has a tusk, 
while cats have none?" Said another. "It 
is a rhinoceros, without doubt ! " 

This was too much for the Emperor. He 
seized one of the Bani^s by the collar, and 
pointing to the boar, he. angrily exclaimed, 
" Look at it again, you blind fellows, and tell me; 
is n't it a wild boar?" "It is! so it is!" 
cried out the wise sons of silly mothers. 

Moral : — It is wise to consider a course 
of conduct in all its bearings, before wo de- 
termine on it. Before venturing out an opi- 
nion, we should weigh well the consequences. 


This story as well as the preceding one teach 
us prudence, patience and foresight. 

The dog of Hadala. 

Hadala is a small village situated on the 
borders of the BhS,l, a fresh water Runn, in 
a country without hills or forests and almost 
% level plain. There lived outside the village 
a dog who was in the habit of barking at 
every- passer by, whenever she caught sight 
of one till he disappeared from view. This 
meant a good deal in a level country, and she 
bad to attend to her unpleasant duty from 
early morning till late at night. This process 
of barking all day long had strengthened her 
jaws and made her proof against cold, heat 
and fatigue. The villagers knew her nature 
and often teased her which gave them great 

Before the establishment of the British 
rule, the tributary chiefs of Kathiawad paid 


tribute to the Gaekwar of Baroda, but not as 
regularly and readily as they do now. The 
Gaekwar had to send troops on the Mulakgiri 
expedition.* Once such a punitive force, on 
its way to a native state, passed by Hadsild, 
and the indefatigable dog took to her profession 
at sight of the strangers. The sepoys were 
seen marching on the plain of Bhd.1 from early 
morning to late in the afternoon. It would 
have tried the patience of a caravan dog, but 
this untiring and energetic bow-wow of Hadala 
was quite equal to the occasion and kept on 
howling all the while. , In the evening, how- 
ever, she felt so tired and exhausted that she 
dropped senseless on the ground, and fits of 
convulsions put an end to her existence, at 
which the villagers exclaimed, "Die as you 

Moral: — Our misfortunes are often brought 
on us by ourselves. So blind are we that only 
too frequently we wing the arrow which is to 
pierce our own heart. 

Mulakgiri expedition = Expedition for the 
collection of tribute. 



Tidings of the well-being of the Thakore's 


DuEiNG the disastrous famine of 1934 A. 
V. (1878 A. D. ), a JThakore left his native 
village, and went to a distant part of Gt^jarat 
to earn his bread. During his absence, his 
house and haystacks were burnt to ashes and 
all the members of his family died of diseases 
& starvation. Not a pennyworth of his once 
handsome property, not a single soul of his once 
extensive family, remained, except an old servant 
who set out in search of his young master, to 
convey to him the sad news of his bereavement. 

After wandering from place to place for a 
long time, he at last fell in with the Thakore 
who embraced him with tears of joy in his eyes 
and inquired after the health of his dear ones. 
The faithful servant thought that if he reveal- 
ed the sad tidings all at once, it would break 
his master's heart. He, therefore, resolved to 
break it as gently as possible, 

J Thakore = A land holder, 


" Well, my friend, " began the Thakore, 
" are all at home doing well. ? " 

"All, except our poor dog Bdzia." 
" It grieves me very much to hear that 
my poor old dog is no more. Of what did 
he die?" 

" Our mare Hardi died. " replied the ser- 
vant. " The dog ate her flesh and followed 
her to the grave." 

" What happened to my dear mare ? I 
am very sorry to have lost both my pets." 
" She died for want of hay and gram." 
" When I left home, there was a large stock 
of both. Where did it all go ? " 

" A part of it was destroyed by fire and 
the remainder was disposed of in order to de- 
fray the expenses of feeding the Brahmins oix 
the 13th day after your mother's death." 
Shocked at this last blow the Thakore exclaimed, 
" My mother ! Is she also no more ? Of what 
did she die ?" 

" The loss of your only son told heavily 

upon her health and she succumbed to the blow." 

This utterly overwhelmed the Thakore. 

"My son ! my only son! Oh! my God!" he 


cried. " I don't know what to believe and what 
not to believe. ■Whathappe^ed to my darling ? " 

" He died for want of proper nourishment." 
Do you mean to say that my wife did not nourish 
her own child ? That is absurd ! " 

" She did suckle him and took great care 
of him as" long as she was alive; but after 
her decease, the tender child was too helpless 
to live without a mother's care. " 

" So my wife is also dead ! " sobbed the 
Thakore. " Whom have I left then in the 
world 1 Let us go home where I can lay my- 
self down in a quiet corner and weep over my 
misfortunes. "" 

" Even that last consolation is denied you;" 
replied the servant sadly. "Before I left, a great 
fire broke out in the vicinity of our house and 
utterly destroyed it together with other houses." 

The Thakore gave up the idea Q.f return* 
ing home and finished his miserable life abroad. 


To do as Bhaga did. 

There formerly lived in Kaira a Bania 
named Bhagwindas whom everybody called 
Bhag^, a contracted form of his long name. 
His father died when Bhagd was only a child, 
and so, being the only child of a widowed 
mother, he was never sent to school and 
was spoilt through fondness and indulgence. 
Besides, he was married at the early age of 12, 
and had never stirred out from home till he 
was twenty years of age. It then happened 
that Bhagd and his wife were invited by his 
father-in-law to be present on the occasion of a 
marriage. His wife was too ill to go, so it 
was decided that Bhag^ should go alone. 
When he came to take leave of his mother, 
she said, " My boy, you are still a child and 
ignorant of the ways of the world. I am very 
sorry to have to sead you, but it can't be 
helped. Conduct yourself well and speak as 
little as possible when you are once there. 
Don't utter two words where you can do 


with one, and be careful to avoid long expla- 
nations where you can manage equally well 
with the monosyllables ' yes and no ', 

Bhagd made up his mind to follow the 
advice of his mother to the very letter and say 
* yes and no ' by turns to every question that 
might be asked. In the evening of the same 
day he reached his father-in-law's house where 
he was heartily welcomed. His mother-in-law 
performed the benedictory ceremony, after which 
the following dialogue took place between them. 

" Have you come by yourself? '' Began 
his mother-in-law. " Yes. " 

" Hasn't my daughter accompanied you ? " 


" Is your mother doing well ? " " Yes. " 

"Are all your people quite well V " No. '' 
" Is my daughter still ill? " " Yes. " 
"Doesn't she feel any better ?", "No." 
Much alarmed, BhagS.'s mother-in-law 
eagerly asked, " Have you placed her under 
the treatment of a competent physician ? " 
" Yes. " 

" Does he give any hopes ? " " No. " 
In great distress the poor woman said^ 


" 1 hope there wasn't anything very serious- 

when you left ! was there ? " 

Bhaga who was greatly bored by this 
series of questions put on a gloomy face and 
replied, " Yes ! " " Why did you not write 
to us then ? " Eagerly exclaimed the mother- 
in-law, " I hope she is still alive. Is she?" 

Bhaga who thought that the cross-ex- 
amination would never come to an end, replied 
with a dejected look, " No ! " 

" Is my daughter dead then ? " Asked 
the woman with tears in her eyes: " Yes "^ 
-replied Bhag^. 

This was followed by loud lamentations, 
when Bhag^'s father-in-law accompanied by a 
guest from Kaira came in to find his wife- 
and daughters ^bea^ing their breasts and 
weeping piteou^. Oh inquiry, ho was told 
that his eldest daughter that is Bhaga's wifa 
was dead ! The new-comer who had seen her 
alive just before he left Kaira, interposed, 
" Who says she is dead ? I saw her only 
this morning and that too not in a very bad 
state of health. " 

" My son-in-law here says that she is. 


dead!" said the mother-in-law. Bhaga was 
further examined and the truth came out at 

The ignorance and thoughtlessness of 
Bhaga have become proverbial, so that any- 
body who does a foolish thing has the nick- 
name cf Bhaga bestowed upon him, and he 
is said to have done as Bhaga did. 

Fool's haste is no speed." 

In Bhdvnagar there once lived a Bania 
named Kamalshi who had a servant named Hiro 
a stupid boy, who was therefore only employed 
in running errands for his master. 

Having some business at Ghogha ( Gogo) 
Kamalshi thought of despatching Hiro the next 
morning. The silly boy, who was informed 
of his master's intention by one of his fellow- 
servants, thought to himself, t " Sheth calls 

t Sheth = Master. 


me a fool. This is an excellent opportunity 
of showing him that I am not so stupid as 
he supposes. If, in this case, I act in antici- 
pation of his orders, it will open his eyes and 
convince him that I am no fool !" 

Next morning, he got up very early and 
left for GhoghA, whence he returned in the 
evening. With high hopes of his services being 
properly appreciated he ran to his master and 
said, " Sheth Saheb, I come directly from 
Ghogha where I went this morning ! " Who 
asked you to go there and for what ? " asked 
the master. " Why, " said Hiro, " I was told 
that you thought of sending me there this 
morning, and I have anticipated your wishes ! 
as to business, I was told nothing or I would 
have done it ! " 

The master laughed at his folly and dis- 
missed him with instructions never to repeat it. 

Moral: — Persons of Hira's type are not 
rare in this woild. They over-rate their abili- 
ties and expose themselves to the ridicule of 



J Dhedas as arbitrators. 

Once in a Native State, the post of 
§ K.d,rbhdri fell vacant. From among a number 
of applications, one was selected, and the can- 
didate was summoned for a personal interview. 
The Native States of India are generally 
hot bede of intrigue and party-spirit, and the 
Karbhari is safe only as long as he has a 
strong hold over the Rdja and his hangers 
on. This never lasts long and one Karbhari 
has to make way for another in quick succes- 
sion. None knows this better than a Karbhari, 
and he takes up the appointment with a view 
to collect as much money as he possibly can, 
by fair means or foul^ during his short tenure 
of Office. If, however, he is not a match for 
the wire-pullers, he is not allowed to depart 
in peace, and has to pay a heavy fine when 
he leaves oflSce. 

The new comer, who had served half a 

J Dhedas = Scavangers. 
§ Karbbari= Minister. 


dozen states in the course of a decade, express- 
ed his willingness to take up the responsible 
post, on condition that if ever he fell into dis- 
grace, he should not be fined by the king. 

" If you commit a fault, " replied the 
Raja, " you are liable to punishment ; and 
who can punish the first Officer of my State 
but myself 1 " " But in that case, " replied 
the Karbhari, " we become partizans, and one 
party cannot impartially deal with the fault 
of the other. I wish, therefore, that I may 
be tried by arbitrators." " And whom would 
you suggest as arbitrators ? " Demanded the 

" The Dhedas ! men of the lowest caste ! " 
announced the Karbhari. " They are neither 
my relatives nor connected with me in any 
way, and capable, therefore, of deciding my 
case impartially, " 

Greatly astonished, the king said, " Dhedas 
sit in judgment upon my Officer ! that is 
ridiculous ! you don't mean that ! do you ? '' 
" I do, my lord. I would rather be tried by 
Dhedas than expose myself to the tender 
mercies of my brother officers and self-styled 


friends ! I ara prepared to accept tlie post 
only on that condition. " 

The king granted his request, bestowed 
upon him a dress of honour, and installed him 
him on the *Di\van's gadi. 

No sooner was the new Karbhari establish- 
ed ia his office, than he began to devise means 

— fair and foul — to extract the maximum of 
riches in the minimum of time. A number 
of unjust taxes were imposed upon the people, 
and justice was sold to the highest bidder. 

The people at last grew so tired of the 
oppressive measures put in force by the new 
minister, that they submitted a petition to the 
King representing all their grievances. The 
anti-karbhari party, availing themselves of the 
opportunity induced the King to try the 
minister for mis-appropriation of public money. 

The King at once summoned the Karbhari 
and angrily exclaimed, *' Many charges against 
you have come to my knowledge, and I don't 
see why. you should not be fined first and 
then dismissed ! " 

" If I have fallen into disgrace, " answered 
* Diwan's gadi = Minister's seat. 


the minister, "I don't wisli to serve any longer ; 
as regards the trial, I must be tried by Dhedds 
as was agreed upon. " 

The King called the leaders of the Dheda 
community and instructed them to impartially 
conduct the trial without the least fear, as 
the Karbhari was no longer in power and 
could therefore do them no harm. The Dhedds 
then arranged themselves in a circle under a 
nim-tree standing in front of the palace, and 
began to consider what fine to impose upon 
the Karbhari. 

" Brethren, '' said a leading Dheda, " the 
case is a serious one, and cannot, therefore, 
be disposed of off hand. " 

" The wily Karbhari has made quite a 
fortune, " remarked another. " Of how much 
do you think he has robbed the State and 
the people ?" 

" Not Jess than five score of rupees, I 
am sure ! " said a third. " But we will make 
h'm refund the whole sum ! " 

" That's too heavy a fine, I think ; " re- 
plied the first speaker. " We should n't be 
too strict. Let us impose a fine of two seal's 


and a half I " 

This was unanimously agreed upon, and 
the Karbhari was right glad to escape with 
so slight a punishment. 

Moral : — A prince wants a million, a 
beggar a groat. 


" It is a #Mia's field, not a widow's." 

When the province of Gujarat was under 
the Mahomaden rule, two horsemen left Ahrae- 
dabad, one day, for a neighbouring village. 
Both of them were shabbily dressed and their 
horses looked half starved. At that time there 
were no roads, so they had to pass through 
fields and forests. After travelling for some 
time, they came to a field in which was stand- 
ing a Bdjri-crop of excellent growth. At the 
sight of the green field, the riders dismounted, 
and let . loose their horses to feed upon the 
Bdjri. Before they could do any damage, how- 

* Mia — A Mahomaden, 


ever, their eyes fell on the owner of the field 
coaling towards them from the other side of 
the field, stick in hand. At the sight of him, 
the sepoys re-mounted their horses and hurriedly 
left the place. 

A little further on, they came upon another 
field which belonged to an old Brahmin widow. 
The Mahomadens leisurely got down from 
their horses and let them loose in the field 
which was not their own. When the poor 
widow saw the hofses trampling the tender 
crop under their feet and doing a lot of harm 
she came before their owners, and with folded 
arms exclaimed, " I am a helpless widow and 
solely dependent upon the crop of this field. 
God will bless you, if you leave it unmolested." 

The sepoys instead of listening to her en- 
treaties, mounted their horses and rode right 
across the field trampling down the stalks and 
ears of corn that came in their way. 

Adjoining the widow's field there was 
another field belonging to a Mahomaden. The 
horsemen thought that that too belonged to 
the widow, so they entered it fearlessly. When 
the owner of the field saw them, he came 


ruiming towards them accompanied by three 
or four labourers. Without uttering a word, 
they pulled them down and beat them severely. 
When they had chastised them to their hearts* 
content, the owner of the field ordered them 
to re-mount the horses. When they had done 
so, he said, " you ought to have known that 
this was a Mia's field, and not a widow's. " 

The horsemen meekly left the place. The 
Mid had taught them a lesson which lasted 
them their lifetime and they never again enter- 
ed a field that belonged to a Mahomaden. 

Moral : — In this world superior might 
generally prevails and the weakest have to go 
to the wall. ' 


"Putting one off does not necessarily 
imply refusal. " 

A Mussalman was in the habit of buying 
everything on credit and putting off the pay- 
ment from day to day. Thus he had lost his 


credit and nobody advanced him anything 
except on cash payment. He owed some 
money to a Banid who pressed him everyday 
for payment. 

Once when the Mia was in a cheerful 
frame of mind, the Bania asked him to settle 
the long-standing account. The debt was settled 
at 60 rupees, and forty rupees were added as 
interest, making up a total of 100 rupees. 
The Mia showed his unwillingness to pay the 
interest which he declared unlawful according 
to the tenets of jlslam, and asked the creditor 
to take off a part of the principal also ; to 
this the Banid, replied, " Business is business,, 
my friend. In account matters we count like 
jews and agree like brothers. Trade knows 
neither friends nor kindred. " 

The Mi^ got wild and angrily exclaimed, 
" The intrest is out of question, for, my reli- 
gious principles forbid me to pay or receive it ; 
that leaves sixty ; you must forego half that 
sum; otib of the remaining thirty, I shall 
pay you ten in a day or two, another ten 
.will be .paid later on, and for the remaining 
X Islam = The Mahomaden religion. 


ten, don't bother yourself aboufc it ! " 

Thus the Mia disposed of the account 
without paying a pie. 


" One good head is better than a hundred 
strong hands. " 

Once upon a time, a King was hunting; 
in a forest, when a hare was started from her 
form. The King followed her leaving his 
attendants far behind. At last, heat and fatigue 
overcame him, and he laid himself down under 
a bunyan-tree. 

Two KAnbi § boys happened to pass by 
the tree. The King asked them to procure 
him some food and water, which they did. 
When he had allayed his hunger and thirst, he 
asked the boys to demand anything they liked 
and it should be granted. One of the two 
thought to himself, " I haven't got a cow 

§ Kunbi=A class of cultivators. 


or a buffalo at home. If, therefore, I ask for 
one, the King will be sure to give it to ine, 
and I shall be ever so happy." He therefore 
prayed the King to bestow upon him a stout 
buffalo, a request which was readily granted. 
The other KAnbi, who waa a lad of fifteen 
said to himself, " I am not going to have 
a cow or a buffalo ; for, it'a no permanent 
good. ' Even if he grants me a t j^ghir, and 
raises me to the rank of a * jdghirddr, I won't 
accept it ; for, I am illiterate, and can not 
manage it. t Laxmi ia restless and volatile, 
while her sister IT Sarswati is steady and re- 
liable. I would rather have her than her 
fickle sister; because, wealth is worth little 
without wisdom, and it is skill and wisdom, 
and not wealth and riches, that govern the 
world. I would rather have a grain of sense 
than a pound of gold," When asked, therefore, 
by the King, what he wanted, he thoughtfully 
replied, " May it please your Majesty, I would 

J Jaghir = Landed property. 

* Jdghirdar=A landed proprietor. 

t Laxmi =1 The Godess of riches. 

H Sarswati «= The Godess of learning. 


rather have a liberal education bestowed upon 
me, than the most costly things of this world; 
for, learning is an acquisition that can neither 
be stolen by thieves, burnt by fire^ .no? divided 
among brothers." , =„\'' ',, - 

The King took them bqtli\ with him' tp 
his Capital, and on reachiiig';the royal palace' 
he at once ordered a bu?F?iJo to be given to 
the lad who had asked for it. ; If o CtL^n; , sitin- 
jBoned a §Pundit and entrusted the other boy 
to his care, with instructiotxs, to teach him; 
with great- care and promptituc|«.^> ^_ » *! 

The lad with the buffalo' was. made 'much 
of and praised for his practical wisdonf by the 
villagers, while the younger boy was made fun 
of and laughed at, for having prefered learn- 
ing to a buflfalo which yielded 10 seers of milk 
every day. 

But the boy entrusted to the Pundit 
showed great capacity, and made amazing pro- 
ofress in all the branches of Sanskrit literature. 
In five years he had learnt everything that 
was worth learning, and had the responsible 
post of a Revenue Commissioner bestowed upon 
§ Pundit = A religious preceptor. 


him. The King was so pleased with his work 
that he conferred upon him a handsome j%hir 
and raised him to the rank of a jaghirdar. 
Thtis'.he.\TCtade a fortune and did a lot of good 
to'^thfer. jj^t^le,; wjiile the man with the buffalo 
^remained in th'^'='same abject condition, and 
finished his daj^-ija. obscurity. Ere long he 
diseoyer^d Jiis ipratake and was often heard to 
say/ "'OisS°^Qod head is better than a hundred 
strong hands, '' 

' There is no going back. ' 

A Mahomedan went to a Bania's shop 
and asked the rates of flour, ghee, sugar, 
pulse, and rice. After much higgling they 
came to terms and tke prices agreed upon 
•were much lower than the market rates of 
those articles. The Mia thought all the while 
that he had secured very low Tates, while the 
Bania thought of recovering by false weights 


what he had lost by the reduced rates. 

When the things were weighed and handed 
over to the mia, he suspected some fraud, for 
the articles he bought, looked less in bulk 
than those he usually obtained from another 
grocer. Without speaking a word, he seized 
the scales with which the things were weighed 
but on examination they were found to be 
■correct. Then he caught hold of the weights 
and asked the Baoia to accompany him to the 
nearest Police-station to get them verified. 
The Bania knew quite well that the weights 
were false and that he would be severely 
punished for cheating. He, therefore, offered 
to re-weigh the things by a correct set of 
weights and thus make good the loss; but 
the Mia would not let him go unpunished. 

The Bania then appealed to his neighbours 
who begged the Mia to let him go for this 
once, but the Mussalman was so enraged that 
he began to abuse all who earne near him. 
Seeing that entreaties would avail nothing, seve- 
ir9,l Banias put a five-pound weight in a gunny 
bag, and attacked the Mahomedan from all 
sides. When they had struck him hard and 


deprived him of the weights in his possession 
they let him go to do what he hked. The 
Mia complained against them all in a law-com-b 
but he could noi prove the charge, for the place 
where he was beaten was all inhabited by 
Banias, and none therefore came forward to 
corroborate his statement. Again there were 
no perceptible marks on his body to prove the 

This story has given rise to the following 
proverb :— 

Tease not a Mahomedan in .•;: Kasbd, play 
not with fire in summer ; Don't find fault with 
a robber in the forest or a Bania in the Baz^r.' 

' Foolish boasting.' 

There lived in Delhi a Mahomedan and 

a Rajput named Fakkad Khtln and Randheer- 

sinh respectively. They were great friends 

and passed much of their time in each other's 

X KasbS, = A street chiefly inhabited by Mahomedaasi- 


company. Once when they were sitting to* 
gether and talking about the golden past, 
Fakkai said, " Times are altered. My father 
was a :j: Risaldar in the Imperial cavalry. 
There were so many horses in his stable that 
it took days to count them all ! and the stable t 
one end of it was in the extreme North and 
the other reached the extreme South ! " 

The Rajput, in order to show his friend 
that it was a cock and bull story, put on a 
serious look and said, " you are quite right 
my friend. My father was as fond of swords 
and lances as was your father of fine horses. 
He had a lance, one end of which touched 
the earth and the other reached the sky ! '' 

** That can't be. Where, on earth, did he 
keep it?" asked the Mid. 

'* In your father's stable. '' replied the 

Moral : — ^Foolish boasting exposes us to 
merited ridicule. 


X BisAldar = A Commandiug officer in a cftvalry; 



' No shift and one too many. ' 

A HARE, a snake and a fox were friends 
and lived together in a haystack. One night 
it caught fire, and the three friends began to 
look for a safe means of escape. " Don't trouble 
about me;" said the hare. " I have a hun- 
dred tricks to resort to." So saying she en- 
tered her form which was underneath the hay- 
stack. " Be easy on my account ; " said the 
snake. *' For I have a thousand and one ways 
of escape. lean enter the bosvelsofthe earth 
like our friend the hare, as well as I can climb 
a tree. A tree would be the best resort under 
the circumstances. So saying he climbed a 
tree that overhung the haystack. The fox who 
had but one shift — that of running away from 
the proximity of danger — made good her escape 
in the woods. 

The haystack was soon reduced to ashes. 
The poor hare, who had sought refuge under 
it, was baked alive; and the flames rose so high 
ihut the tree, in which the snake had souofht 


protection, was blackened and the foolish reptile 
perished with it. Reynard alone escaped unhurt. 
Moral :— Evil awaits him that has no shift 
and him that has too many. The man with 
many expedients generally fails. He begins 
many plans and finishes none. 

Cf. The Cat and the Yox,—yEsop's fables. 


Rejecting a bribe of a hundred thousand 
rupees ! 

( A true story ) , 

Ambashankee, a native of SArat and a 
meinber of the Brahm-kshatri caste, has gained 
a great reputation for upright conduct. The 
following is one of the numerous instances of 
his honesty and truthful dealing. 

Once, during his tenure of a Magistrate's 
office in Ahmedabad, there arose a complicated 
question of legacy in a millionaire PArekfa 
family. The case came before Ambashanker. 

106 KUlkTif FOLKLORK, 

With the object of winning over the Magistrate 
to his side, one of the parties went one night 
to Ambashanker and oifered him the sum of 
100,000 rupees, if he decided the case in his 
favour. This handsome offer of 62 maunds of 
silver or 125 lbs of gold would have blinded any- 
other man, but Ambashanker had too high an 
ideal of justice and honesty to be tempted by 
gold or silver. He, therefore, disdainfully re- 
jected the bribe and asked the man to go away. 

" Why are you angry ? " said the man. 
" The service of your whole life will not bring 
you as much money as I mean to place in 
your hands to night. Seize the opportunity, 
my dear Sir, and take advantage of the smiles 
of fortune. Again, your secret will be safe 
with me and nobody will ever know it. Fortune 
knocks at your door, and if you don't let her 
in, she will pass away. " 

" Parekh, " said the Magistrate, " I thank 
you for your advice and would certainly have 
followed it; but I am not my own master, 
for I am responsible to the higher tribunal 
of duty presided over by Justice Conscience ! 
who is very keen about such matters and 


cannot put up with the slightest infringe- 
ment of the principles laid down by him. You 
say that nobody would refuse such a handsome 
offer, but there are persons who consider duty 
above all things. You will, therefore, do well 
to leave me alone." 

* To strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. 

There lived in Calcutta a Mahomedan 
named Neki-khan, who, notwithstanding his 
extreme poverty, had established a reputation 
as an honest man. Whenever he found a thino' 
lying on the road or elsewhere, he invariably 
returned it to its owner and never asked for 
t cheri-meri from him. 

One day, as Neki-khan was passing through 
a street, his eyes fell on a small parcel and a 
* Kauri lying in the middle of the road. He 

t Cheri-meri = small presents. 
• Kauri =3 A shell. 


picked them up and went home directly. On 
opening the parcel, a priceless treasm'e con- 
sisting of a pearl neck-lace and a pair of 
gold bangles, set with diamonds, met his eyes. 
His first impulse was to find out their lawful 
owner and haud them over to him, but on 
second thoughts, he came to the conclusion 
that he would appropriate them for himself. 
'• Pitying my poor condition and helpless old 
age, God may have sent it to me as a reward. 
Again, I am getting old and shall have to re- 
tire from service in a year or two, so this will 
serve as a provision against rainy days to come. 
• Spontaneous bounty,' says Gorakhnath, ' is 
like milk, that which is besfored is like water 
and that which is snatched away is like blood.' 
I have neither begged nor stolen it. It is a 
god-send and as such is most acceptable. '' 
This false reasoning could not, however, silence 
the voice of conscience. " I have enjoyed an 
unsullied reputation so long; " said he to him- 
self; " Why tarnish it now in the eve of my 
life, and disgrace my white hair ? But then, 
when fortune knocks at my door, it is foolish 
to turn her away. Honesty is the best policy, 


no doubt, but it is often left to starve." 

He was thus at a loss to come to a deci- 
sign one way or the otlier when an idea struck 
him. He at once went out with the parcel 
and the Kauri and passing from street to street 
he cried out in a very loud tone, " Has anyone 
lost a Kauri ? " adding in voice that was scar- 
cely audible, " and a parcel of ornaments 1 " 
No claimant was found, for, who would care 
to recover a Kauri even if he had lost one ? 
Having thus satisfied his conscience he returned 
home in the evening and quietly buried the 
parcel in a safe corner of his house? 

Moral : — The attempt of the dishonest 
!Mia is a true image of men who act as if they 
thought God could not read the secrets of 
their hearts, and think to deceive the All-seeing 
and All-wise. 

Cf. Smooth dissimulation ! skilled to grace 
A devil's purpose with an angel's face.' 


'All Saint without, all devil within.' 


Therk was a fkoli named Bhalo who pre- 
tended to be vary pious and devout. Carrying 
a rosary of beads in one hand, in the other a 
country guitar, and with a mark made with 
the sacred yellow earth upon his forehead, ho 
chanted hymns day and night in praise of 
llama. He preached broad principles of mora- 
lity to the villagers, and exhorted them to 
be honest, truthful and god-fearing. All this, 
however, was meant for the market, not for 
home consumption. In short, he was fair 
without, but foul within. 

Once a body of pilgrims was going to 
Kashi ( modern Benares ) and Bhalo Bhagat 
aceompanied them. After bathing in the sacred 
waters of the mother Ganges, they performed 
their obeisance to the Lord of Kashi and took 
certain vows. Bhalo took a vow never to go 

On his way back, he came upon a pool 
of water, about a mile from his native place, 
abounding in fish. He had a great wish to 
take some, but he could not do so, as he had 
taken a vow to that effect. At last he hit 
t Koli = A momber of tlie labouring class. 


upon a plan that ^YOuld answer his purpose 
without violating the vow. From the pool 
to the village gate, he traced a line with 
his stick, and when his caste-fellows came to 
welcome him home, he uttered the following 
words which if rightly interpreted would lead 
them to the pool : — " I will neither point it 
out with my finger, nor utter a word as to 
its where-abouts ; but if you follow the track 
of the stick, it will guide you to a pool of 

Two or three Kolls at once made for the 
pool, and on arriving there, caught a number 
of fish and brought them home to be served 
to the JBhagafc. Thus the so-called Bhagat 
got the fish and kept his vow as well. 
MoEAL :— 
' Oh ! what a man may within him hide, 
Thouofh angel on the outward side. * 

Cf. also: — 
' Words and promises that yoke 
The ' utterer ' are quickly broke. 
Like Samson's Cuffs, though by his own 
Direction and advice put on, ' 
J Bhagat— a religious man, 



'He that is won with a nut may be lost 
with an apple.' 

In one of the native states under the Rew4 
K^nthd Ageney, there was a magistrate named 
Anddidas who sold justice to the highest bidder 
firmly believing that gold is the god of the 
world. He never looked to the merits or de- 
merits of the case, or considered pros and cons, 
but decided it in favour of the party who 
offered the highest price for a decision in his 

A widow of the Khavas community owed 
250 rupees to a Bania who filed a suit against 
her in Anandidas's court. The Bania who 
knew the Magistrate well, bought a turban 
worth Bs- 30, and presented it to him, on 
condition that a decree should be passed in his 
favour. The Magistrate, while accepting the 
turban, assured the Bania that it would surely 
be decided in his favour. 

When the case came before the court for 
hearing, the Magistrate showed a marked ten- 


dency towards the Bania, which led the shrewd 
widow to suspect some foul play. She, there- 
lore, prayed the court for an adjournmentf 
which was readily granted. 

The same evening she went to the Magis- 
trate's house, and after talking for some time 
on indifferent topics, she said, " you don't seem 
to have a cow or a buffalo. Take my advico 
and keep one. But then cattle are so scarce" 
now-a-days. Never mind. I have a good, strong" 
buffalo that gives twenty pounds of milk a day 
and as I am a lonely widow, I have no use 
for it. I will send it to you tomorrow morn- 
ing, if you will but accept it." The greedy 
judge readily gave his consent, and asked the 
woman if he could do anything for her. " you 
know," replied the woman, " that a Bania has 
filed a suit against me, which is to come before 
you next monday. I am a poor widow and 
cannot afford to pay such a large sum, If 
you, therefoi'e, dismiss the suit and help me 
out', I shall owe you a lifelong debt of 

■ On the fixed day, the Magistrate took 
up' the ~case. After examining the Bahi*'» 


account-books, he said, " You seem to have 
deceived this poor widow who knows very 
little of matters of account. " The Bania at 
once understood the cause of this sudden 
change in the Magistrate's conduct, and in 
order to remind him of the turban he said, 
" What about the turban, Sir ! " " The turban 
ha.3 been swallowed up by the buffalo, my 
friend ! " replied the Magistrate coolly. He 
then dismissed the suit. 

Moral : — Judges should be disinterested. 

Cf. The dog and the sheep. /Esop's fables. 

' A fig to the doctor when cured.* 

There lived in Daman a merchant named 
Bogh^shd, who lost so heavily in a business 
transaction that he was unable to meet the 
demands of his numerous creditora. He, 
therefore, shut "up his shop, and kept in- 
doors to escape the various demands for pay- 


ment. A friend of his named Dhirajlal, know^ 
ing that Bogh^sh^ was in great trouble went 
to his house and asked him how the matter 

" My friend, " said Boghdshd, " you know 
that I have incurred a very heavy loss in that 
wheat transaction. As a banker of long stand* 
ing and some reputation, I hold deposits from 
a number of persons ; I am quite unable to 
satisfy them all at the present moment. If 
you can show me a way out of it, you will 
lay me under a life-long obligation. " 

" You know as Avell as I do, " replied 
Dhirajlal, " that you owe me too a large sum. 
Now if I show you a nice trick to get out of 
the difficulty, promise me that you won't put 
it in force against me also.'' 

"You need not be afraid of that; for, 
I am not so ungrateful as that. Once I am 
free from the clutches of my other creditors 
I will pay up every pie that I~ owe you. " 
" Listen to ma then, " said Dhirajlal, 
" whenever a creditor conies and askes you 
for payment, say ' mew ' in reply to every 
question that is asked you. They would then 


think that sudden misfortune has affected your 
brains. You will thus be left unmolested, and 
in the end you will come off successful ! but 
mind, the policy of 'A fig to the doctor when 
cured ' won't do for me ! " 

From early morning next day, creditors 
began to pour in, but Boghasha met them all 
with that excellent monosyllable ' mew. ' 

"Settle my account, Boghashii" cried a 

" Mew ! " replied the debtor. 

That won't do ; " shouted a banker. "Pay 
me this instant, or I will take legal steps 
against you. " 

" Mew " was Boghfishd's only reply to the 

" I have deposited a hundred rupees with 
you. I want them back this moment ; " cried 
a wood-cutter. 


Then a widow spoke, " Sheth Saheb, you 
know that 1 am solely dependent on the in- 
terest that my deposit brings me every month. 
The loss of it would render me utterly help- 
less. 1 have no other means of hvelihood. 


You must pay me, if you cau't pay the others. " 

" Some do the sowing and others do the 
reaping, " grumbled a cultivator. " That's not 
fair. You will have to repay what you have 
received from us. " 
" Mew ! " 

" Why do you make a pain of a pleasure ? " 
suggested a fVaidya. " Make a part payment 
only, if you can't pay up the whole and we 
will be satisfied. " 
" Mew \ " 

The creditors, at last got tired, and 
thought the game was not worth the candle. 
So, they gave up the attempt and went home. 
The remedy proved very efficacious and Bogha- 
sh^ stuck to it with great persistance. 

After a few days, Dhirajlal once again 
want to his friend's house and asked him to 
pay him up. But .Bogh^sha was ready with 
his ' mew. ' " To me also ? " asked Dhirajlal. 
" Why not I" Said Boghasha. " To your 
father even ! " 

Dhirajlal was very sorry he had shown 
t Vaidya = a native phycian. 


him the way out of his difficulty, but repent- 
ance came too late, for, the chance was past. 

Moral : — How often do men incur uncalled 
for liabilities on the assurances of persons 
whose later conduct proves them to be un- 
worthy of confidence, and hence bring misery 
and disaster on themselves ? 


" If you trust before you try, 
You may repent before you die. " 


The kite and the Pigeons, ^sop's fables 


" Can't help it, my friend ; for, I have 
the misfortune to be a Patidar. 

There lived in Naridd a Patidd,r named 
L&,lbh&,i. Like their brother land-holders, the 
Rajputs, the Patidars keep their ladies in 
Pardd, take opium and sweetmeats in company 
twice a day and spend a lot on the occasion 


of a death, marriage or pregnancy. Poor 
Lalbhai had to do all this. He had a very 
limited income which hardly sufficed for the 
maintenance of his large family ; but he was 
bound to keep up the reputation of his ances- 
tors and whether he could afford it or not, 
spend as others did. As a result of this falsa 
idea of reputation, he was overwhelmed with 
debt. Even at the present time, almost all 
P^tiddrs are of the above type, and their es- 
tates are heavily encumbered. Their " reputa- 
tion " is the cause of their ruin, and unless 
and until these thoughtless and extravagent 
customes are put a stop to, by the Government 
if not by themselves, they will continue to sink 
never to rise again. 

When Lalbhai went out in the evening 
he was always accompanied by half a dozen 
attendants, and as became a Patidar, he carried 
a silver-htakkd., and his silk-bordered Dhoti 
swept the ground — so low was it worn. Once 
when he was asked by a stranger why he wore 
the Dhoti so low, he replied, " Can't help it, 
my friend; for, I have the misfortune to be a 
Patidar ! " 


Moral:— Idle pleasures are only temporary 
Bncl evanescent and there is no solid happiness 
iu them. Running headlong into debt makes 
a man miserable and his life becomes a burden 
to himself and others. 

The boy who bit his mother. 

There was once a boy who, losing his 
father when he was very young, was under 
the sole care of his widowed mother, she was 
so extremely indulgent to the fatherless child 
that she never reproved him even when he 
quarelled with other boys and got into serious 
xnischief. The wilful and misguided child had 
his way in everything and was thus led 
into many vices among which theft stood 
foremost. Whenever he brought something 
home, his mother never inquired how he got 
it, but praised him for his shrewdness ; and 
ihe child was thus led to believe that he was 


doing nothing wrong in picking up what 
belonged to other people. 

From an ordinary thief he rose to be a 
notorious pick-pocket, and proved a terror to 
society. At last he joined a gang of robbers, 
and with them broke into a village and plun- 
dered it. The villagers rose agaist them, and 
in a conflict that ensued, the boy dealt a severe 
blow to a villager and laid him dead at his 

The gang made good their e^.cape at the 
time, but later on the boy was arrested by 
the police, and dragged before a court of justice 
to be tried there as a murderer, and being 
found guilty of the offence, was sentenced to 
be hanged. The boy was conducted to a cell, 
where he sat meditating upon his past life 
which had been passed in the commission of 
crimes of every description. " Had I known," 
thought the boy, " that it would result in 
this, I would never have lived as I have done. 
None of my relatives — not even my mother — 
warned me of the consequences of my evil 
deeds. All this has been brought upon me 
by luy mother who not only did not utter a 


word against my mis-deeds, but encoutaged 
me to follow them with greater zeal. She alone 
is to blame for thus leading me astray and I 
curse her from the bottom of my heart for 
wilful neglect of duty. I will, however, teach 
her a lesson before I perish, " 

When the day, on which he was to be 
hanged dawned, he was conducted to the place 
of execution and was asked if anything could 
be done for him. He prayed to be allowed 
to see his mother and say a few words to her 
in private. The prayer was granted and the 
boy approached his mother who was standing 
in a corner beating her breast and crying 
piteously. As if he wanted to confide some 
secret to her before he died, he drew her face 
towards his and bit her nose clean off ! and 
then exclaimed. " I owe it entirely to you, 
wretched woman, that I die an ignomious 
death ! it was your duty to bring me up in 
the path of virtue. You neglected that duty 
and this is the result of your neglect. Why 
do you weep ? It is too late to grieve, for, 
your tears can do me no good now I " Then 
addressing the people, he said, " Good people, 


you see me here an example of shame and 
puaishment. But it is this mother of mine 
who brought me to it. If she had punished 
me severely for the little things that I stole 
when I was a boy, I should not have come 
to the gallows as a man. " 

Mokal: — Spare the rod and spoil the 
child. Wicked dispositions should be checked 
early. To permit a serious fault in a child 
to go unpunished is absolute cruelty to it; 
and the foolish mother, who spares her son 
then, is preparing bitter pain for him in the 


"Where have you been, Ralia Gadhavi ? *' 
" On a wild goose chase. " 

There lived in Ranisar, a village near 
Ahmed^b^d, a t Charan or Gadhavi named 
Ralio. He was a bustling-do-nothing sort of 

X Charan or Gadhavi = Native barda. 


fellow, and cared more about other people's 
business than about his own. Bemg naturally 
averse to earning his bread by hard labour 
he managed to live on the charity of the landed 
proprietors of the place, who gave him a quan- 
tity of JCiwdr at harvest time. This he ground 
into flour, boiled it with water and lived there 
on. He could not afford to buy vegetables, 
ghee or sugar with it. 

He was so tired of this sort of food that 
he made up his mind to go on a visit for a 
week. He had a double object in so doing. 
First, he would get a variety of food elsewhere, 
and secondly by his absence for a week, he 
could save about 7 fts, of Juvar which he 
thought of selling on his return, intending to 
buy sweetmeats with the proceeds ! With this 
object in view, he wandered from one place to 
another, and returned home at the end of- a 
week. But as chance would have it, he was 
accosted by half a dozen of his caste-fellows 
as he entered the gates of his native village. 
He had to take them home with him and feed 
them all. They consumed all that the Gadhavi's 
wife had laid by during her husband's absence 


and thus the poor fellow's castle in the air 
was shattered to pieces ! AYhen asked hj a 
friend where he had been, the Gadhavi replied 
bitterly, " On a wild goose chase, my friend ! '' 
Moral : — Man proposes, God disposes. 


' Nothing venture, nothing gain. ' 

A Mahomedax named Fattehkhan was 
the headman of a village for twenty years, 
dui'ing which time he had not spent a pie on 
board and lodging, as the villagers gave him 
a house to live in, and invited him to dinner 
by turns. When he retired from service, they 
went to see him off for two miles and wept 
bitterly at the parting, so popular was he. 

Some time later, fifteen of the villagers 
left for a town which was about two day's 
journey from their native village. In the 
evening of the first day, they arrived at the 
village where the ex-headman resided. With 


the inter) tion of putting up with him for the 
night, they went to his house where they 
received a warm welcome from the owner. 
But in reality, the Mia, was much annoyed 
at lieart to meet so many of his old friends, 
all of whom must be fed, not with bread and 
vegetables, but with sweetmeats; For, he had 
enjoyed their hospitality very often during his 
tenure of oflSce. At last, ho hit upon a plan 
to avoid this necessity, and said, " You wait 
here, my friends. I shall soon be back with 
ghee^ sugar and other articles of food for you. 
You don't come every day, and I must show 
you that I am anything but ungrateful. '* 
With these words he left the house and went 
to a friend of his named Jhalimkh&,n to ask 
his advice as to how he could get rid of his 
troublesome guests without giving th3m offaace. 
After some thought, Jhiilimkhan said " I: 
can show you a way, and an excellent one ; 
but it involves some risk which you must 
undertake. You go back to your house. I 
will follow you within half an hour, accompa- 
nied by half a dozen men, all armed to the 
teeth, and make a row in front of your house. 


I shall ask you either to hand over the villagers 
to me or fight with me on their behalf, and 
you must prefer the latter alternative. If this 
sham fight induces them to leave the house, 
well and good ; if not, I shall have to wound 
you which may prove serious; but it will 
assuredly put them to flight; there is not 
the least doubt about it. Seeing you engaged 
in their cause and risking your veiy life for 
them, they will praise you more than ever 
when they return to their village. " 

" That is an excellent plan, " replied 
Fattehkhan dubiously. " But I don't like 
the latter part of it. Can't you manage it 
without wounding me ? " 

" Nothing venture, nothing have. " said 
Jhalimkhan. " you can't have gain without 
risk of some sort. " 

Fattehkhan expressed his willingness to 
act according to his friend's advice. He re- 
turned home and was soon followed by Jhalim- 
khan as previously arranged. Reaching his 
friend's house, Jhalimkhan asked him in a 
peremptory tone to hand over his guests to 
him, for, be said they had murdered his father 


years ago ! To this Fattehkhan replied, " I 
vpon't deliver my guasts to you as long as 
there is a spark of life in me. Kill me first 
and then have them if you can, *' So saying 
he seized his gun and rushed out. The poor 
villagers thought that it was a mistake and 
would soon be put right. But when they saw 
the combatants seriously engaged, and their 
champion wounded in the arm, they took to 
their heels and soon disappeared ! The Maho- 
medans stopped fighting as soon as the guests 
were gone. Fattehkhan's wound was not very 
serious, though it took about a week to heal 
but it saved him an expense of about ten 
rupees ! 

Moral : — The ill-disposed will easily invent 
an excuse for wroug-doing. 


Be a turn.eoat. " 

Once as the Collector of Ahmedabad was 


riding through the district, his horse took 
fright at something lying on the road, threw 
the rider and ran away. The Collector's man 
followed it to a village and asked a 13ania 
whether he had seen the horse. 

" Yes, I saw it going towards the west a 
short while, ago. '' 

" Come along with me, " said the servant, 
I shall let you go as soon as we have found it. " 
I don't see why I should go with you; " replied 
the Bania. " I have pointed out the direction 
and I can't do anything more. " Then the 
servant resorted to threats. " I will report 
you to the Collector Saheb; now, will you 
come or not ? " 

Another Bania who happened to pass by, 
seeing his caste-fellow in distress, suggested 
to him to turn his coat. The shrewd Bania, 
taking the hint, asked the Collector's man 
whether his master's horse had any horns, 
for the one he had seen had two. The man 
thought that the Bania must be a fool, and 
so he said, " Bullocks, and not horses, have 
horns, you fool ! " It must be a bullock, then, " 
replied the Bania; " and I beg your pardon 


for having detained you so long for nothing ! " 
Moral: — We are justified in using prudence 
in the ordinary occasions of life; and it is 
wise to aim at and acquire a certain readiness 
of mind, so that in cases of difficulty we may 
be able to do the best we can honestly for 


* The beggar is never out of his way. * 

There once lived in Bhavnagar a Brahmin 
named Madhavji Bhatt who did not understand 
his duty as a Brahmin according to the six 
Shastras, and had quite forgotten the little he 
had learnt in his youth. He. was content to 
follow his ancestral profession, that of begging 
alms, and went about the town every morning 
uttering ' Laxmi bless you, ' • Happiness attend 
you, ' ' God grant you long life, ' and such 
other phrases well-known to the profession. 
The morning trip brought him about 4 lbs. of 
flour and he desired nothing more. A week 


before and after fSankrati, he waaderorl from 
village to village in quest of alms, and collected 
a large quantity of corn and half a dozen suits 
of clothes. On the JBaleva day, he went from 
house to house and tied a thread round every- 
body's arm as a preventive against evils, and earn- 
ed quite a number of coppers. On new year's 
day, he wished good luck to everybody whom 
he met and extracted silver and copper coins 
in return for the blessing. In winter he went 
round with a subscription list meant to provide 
him with a warm garment ; in rainy season 
tiles for his roof and an umbrella for himself 
were obtained by similar means. In short 
Bhattaji had devised a thousand and one ways 
of robbing the public, and there was no want 
of dupes who could be easily imposed upon. 
Thus Bhattaji amassed a fortune and built a 
house of his own. 

The Brahmin next took to the profession 

t Shankranti=Ifc is a religious holiday falling 
about the 12th January. Food and clothes are given 
away to the beggars on that day. 

^Baleva=slt falls in August. The Brahmins chasge 
their sacred threads on that day. 


of a story-teller, and in order to master the 
various tales from the Ramayan and the Maha- 
bharat — the two Indian Epics— he picked up 
the alphabet, and later on a little reading and 

Once he was repeating religious legends 
in a temple, and on the seventh day when 
they were finished, the people presented him 
with money, clothes and corn. In order to 
conduct the Bhattji to his house, they 
seated him on an elephant, with hundreds 
of people walking in front of the procession. 
The procession was passing through a street, 
when Bhattji's eyes fell on a man distributing 
radishes among the beggars. Although he 
was seated on an elephant, he could not with- 
stand the temptation, and at once asked for 
a radish which was given to him with the 
following remark: — "You are seated on an 
elephant, and have gold rings round your arm ; 
even pearls can be had for the asking, but 
you ought to have considered your present 
position !" 



Every rogue is at length out-witted. ' 

One night several thieves entered the 
house of a Bania named Rdmdiis who did not 
think it safe to oppose them, but with the 
intention of playing them a trick and saving 
bis property by that means, he said to his 
wife, " Do you hear ? I received a letter this 
morning from my agent at Bombay who says 
that the price of mustard seed is increasing 
every hour, and in a day or two it will rise 
to forty rupees a pound ! We have in the 
house about a maund of mustard seed and I 
will buy up all I can get from the town to- 
morrow. By the bye, ] saw the mustard, we 
have in the house, being dried on a cot in the 
verandah. Have you collected and placed it 
in a safe corner of the house ? " " No, I 
haven't, " replied the shrewd woman ; " but 
rill do it the first thing in the morning. " 

The thieves who had overheard them were 
greatly rejoiced at their good luck, and leaving 
everything aside, they rushed to the verandah 
and putting every grain of mustard in a bag, 


they made away with it. Then after playing 
the fox with the robbers, the Bania quietly 
went to sleep, congratulating himself on the 
fertility of his brain. 

The next morning, the thieves gave the 
bag of mustard seed to their agent and sent 
him to the Bazar to sell it, thinking it would 
bring them at least a thousand rupees. The 
agent went from shop to shop showing sample; 
but was nowhere offered more than two rupees 
a maund which was all he had. He went 
at last to the shop of the rightful owner of 
the mustard, and asked him at what rate he 
would buy it. The Bania offered a rupee 
per maund, at which the agent exclaimed, 
" I hear that mustard is getting scarce in 
Bombay, and the rates have therefore risen 
tremendously. " " It was so, last night, " 
replied the Bania; " but they have gone 
down rapidly since then. " He then followed 
the agent to the thieves ' den and had them 
arrested and punished. 

Moral :— Deceit deserves to be deceived. 
The stratagem of the Bania is excusable when 
the evil design of the thieves is considered. 


The disappointment of the latter does not win 
our sympathy ; for, the Bania had a narrow 
escape from their clutches. 


"There is difference between man and 

man, " says Anand to Permanand; 

" for, one can't be had for money, 

while another is not worth 

a pie. 


There was a wealthy merchant in Por* 
bunder whose shop was managed by an old 
and trustworthy t Mlinim. As the MAnim 
was a thorough business man, and had an 
extensive experience of every department of 
trade, the § Sheth left him the sole manage- 
ment of the shop. He was handsomely re- 
munerated for his services and was treated as 
one of the family. 

t Mdnim=>The manager of a shop. 
§ Sheth =3 Master. 


The X Sheth^ni, however, did not like the 
M6nim to be so treated, while her brother 
was sitting without employment. She wished 
her brother to bs appointed to the MAnim's 
place, and never failed to make a suggestion 
to that effect whenever an opportunity present- 
ed itself. Once, when the Sheth was praising 
the tact and honesty of the Mt!lniin, his wife 
angrily exclaimed, " What is there in that 
man that you praise him so much ? It is 
working that makes a workman. If you appoint 
my brother in his place, he will do the work 
equally well, if not better. " Although the 
Sheth knew that his brother-in-law was a 
senseless dolt, he gave him the Mtinim's post 
in order to please his wife, and show her that 
the fellow was no good. He explained the 
situation to his faithful servant and asked him 
not to attend the shop for a week. 

After the new Mlinim had been installed 
in his office, the Sheth sent him one morning 
to buy 500 cans of ghee that had arrived for 
sale the previous night. He went and came 
back three or four times. Once to report the 
J Shethani = Sheth's wife. 


rates, a second time, the quality of the ghee, 
a third time, the current market rates and so 
on. In the mean time, the old MAnim bought 
and re-sold the whole lot and earned about 
500 rupees by the transaction. He sent the 
whole profit to the Sheth informing him that 
the ghee was bought and sold in his name. 
When the Sheth reported this to his better- 
half, she said, " Practice makes a man perfect. 
You try my brother for some time and he 
will prove equally useful. " 

The Sheth had a daughter twelve years 
of age. To find a suitable husband for her, 
the Sheth resolved to send his brother-in-law. 
He called him and said, " Go to Bhavnagar, 
JAn^gadh and other places in Kathiawar and 
try to find out a suitable husband for your 
niece. He must be of good family, well edu- 
cated and sixteen years old. " To make him- 
self sure of every detail, the brother-in-law 
asked, " supposing I fail to find a boy sixteen 
years old, will two, each of eight years do ? ! " 
As the Sheth did not want two husbands for 
his daughter, he asked his obliging brother-in- 
law to remain at home and mind his own 



One morning, the Sheth had a severe at- 
tack of fever, so his -wife sent her brother to 
call a physician. On bis way to the physician's 
house, the new Mtinim began to say to him- 
self, " My sister and her husband often tell 
me that the ex-MAnim used to do a number 
of things at a time. I will show them to-day 
that I am also capable of doing the same. 
The Sheth is very ill and the case may prove- 
fatal ! they will then require bamboo, cotton- 
thread and cocoa-nuts to prepare the * nanami 
for him ! what if I buy these things in advance? 
It would save so much trouble later on ! " He 
asked the physician to go at once to the house 
and himself went to the Baz^r, and bought 
everything that he thought would be useful 
in case the Sheth died ! 

As a rule such things are bought after 
a person is dead. Now several people had seen 
the Miinim make purchases, and they naturally 
thought that the Sheth must have breathed his 
last. So they followed him to his house be- 

* Nanami = Lit-means ' un-nameablc' a bamboo 
bier for the dead. 


moaning the Sheth's death, though he was still 
in the land of the living! when the mistress 
of the house saw people coming to attend the 
funeral ceremony, she summoned her brother 
to her presence and dismissed him with the 
following words, " Leave the house this moment 
and never show your face here again. I now 
fully recognis3 the truth of my husband's state- 
ment that there is difference between man and 

A cross and perverse Mia. 

There was once a Mahomedan named 
Adekh3,n who never gave a straight and direct 
answer to any question that was asked him, 
even if it were for his own good. Two Pundits 
named Dhirajram and Surajr^m were one day 
discussing the tendencies of human nature, when 
the former said, " If we treat others with respect 
and kindness, we are sure to receive a similar 
treatment in return ; for, * kindness begets- 


kindness ' — is the law "of nature. I have no 
faith in persons who find fault with others, 
for they find everything yellow, because their 
own eyes are jaundieed. " " You may be right, " 
replied the other, " but persons naturally in- 
clined to vice are reclaimed with difficulty, 
you might as well try to keep ducks from 
water. For myself, I am of opinion that what 
is crooked by nature is never made straight 
by education. " 

As the two friends, a few days after the 
above discussion, were passing along a street 
they met Adekhdn with his son, coming from 
the opposite direction. To prove the truth of 
his statement, Surajrtlm accosted the Mia, 
'" Good morning, Mia saheb. " " You must 
have some business with me ; " replied the 
Mia suspiciously ; " or you would not salute 
me, I am sure. " 

" You are mistaken, my friend ; I have 
no business with you. We meet after a very 
long time, and I am very glad to see you. " 

" I see you almost every day " ; growled 
the Mia ; " You must be blind not to see 
me, you book-worm I " 


" Is that your son ? " said Surajram. 

" Is he yours then ? snapped the Mia. 
" What an idiot you are ?" 

" The boy looks intelligent, " replied Suraj- 
ram without losing his temper ; " but a little 
delicate. Why don't you give him some tonic 
medicine ? " 

That is no business of yours ! suppose he 
is reduced to a skeleton ; what have you to 
do with it ? " 

" Excuse me, Mia saheb. I meant no 
offence. I wish him a long and happy life, " 
responded Surajram. 

" As if it were in your hands to grant 
people long lives ! kill him to day if you can ! '' 

" Well, let that paf:S. I have forgotton 
your name. What is it ? " 

" What is that to you ? " 

" My good man, " said Surajram, " what 
is the good of giving cross answers to the 
polite inquiries of a friend ? " 

" Who are you that you should call me 
bad names ? I will be cross, perverse, obstinate, 
anything I choose. Take care how you utter 
another word. '' 


While they were thus talking, a well-known 
character named Bhaglo happened to pass by. 
Surajram stopped him and pointing him out 
to the Mia, said, " If you say one word, such 
as you have said to, me, to the gentleman here 
he will make you open your eyes very wide. " 

" What do I care for him ? " Replied the 
Mia. " I am not afraid of such hedge-born 
brats ! " 

At this, Bhaglo, without more ado dealt 
him a severe blow on the head, levelling him 
to the earth, and the Mia gathering himself 
up very slov/ly quietly went home. 


" You are fed with ghee and molasses, and 
yet you won't walk well ! " 

In the service of one of the native states 
of Kathiawar, there was an Arab named 
Abuddha. He was once sent as an escort with 


a bullock cart loaded with money bags to be 
delivered to a banker living in another town. 
With his gun and scimitar the Arab was 
following the cart, when his foot slipped on a 
fresh cowdung cake lying on the road. The 
Arab fell flat on the ground and his compa- 
nions began to laugh at him. The Arab was 
so enraged at this that he took out his 
scimitar, and striking the foot that had slipped, 
exclaimed, " Take this, then. I feed you as 
well as your twin brother meaning the other 
foot — with ghee and molasses and yet you 
won't walk well ! " This thoughtless act ren- 
dered him quite unfit for further travel on 
foot. The driver, however, offered him a seat 
by his side, and put him down at his house 
on their return. The wound took a fortnight 
to heal, but it did not cure the wild Arab 
of his thoughtless conduct. 

The Arabs are as faithful and honest as 
they are stupid and peevish. 



' There was Rama and there was Bavana. 

Ravana carried away Rama's wife 

and the latter took his life and 

kingdom. That's the sum and 

substance of the Ramayana. ' 

A Brahmin was reading aloud to the 
public the legend of Ramiyana night after 
night. One night, three or four Mahomedan 
opium-eaters happened to pass by the place 
with hAkkds in their hands. "What has this 
Brahmin been doing for so long a time ? '' 
Asked one of the Misls of his companions. 
" These Brahmins are very fond of making 
much out of nothing, " replied the person ap- 
pealed to. " They deceive the ignorant people 
by making a mountain of a molehill, " added 
the third. " But do you know what he has 
been telling them for the last six months ? 
They call it the R^mslyana, the long and short 
of which is that there was R^ma and there was 
R§,vana. Ravana carried away Rama's wife 
and the latter deprived him of his life and 

INDIAN 70LKL0RE. 145' 

kingdom. That is the sum and substance of 
the Ram^yana. To tell this short story, the 
fellow has taken six months and I suppose' 
he will take as many more ! " 


* Avarice is the root of all evils. * 

A Bania named Mangald^s was so very 
selfish and avaricious that money was his 
only god and he worshipped it day and night. 
He did not care for other people's feelings or 
interests, and never hesitated to sacrifice them 
if his own object was served by doing so. He' 
never listened to any other music but the 
chiak of silver to gain which he would do- 
aify thing and every thing. He never did a 
kindness to his friends or relatives, much less 
to strangers. He would gladly accompany 
you to the Bazar if you wanted to make pur^ 
cbases, for he was in league with all the mer- 
chants of the place who gave him a percentage 


on all that was bought and sold through him. 
Not even his most intimate friends escaped this 

One evening as Mangaldd,s was returning 
from a neighbouring village, he came to a 
river which had to be crossed in order to 
gain the opposite bank. The waters were 
very deep, and there was no bridge. Mangal- 
das resolved, therefore, to swim across the 
river; but by the time he arrived in the 
middle of the stream, he was quite exhausted, 
and the rapid and forcible current dragged him 
towards the mouth of the river. A few vil- 
lagers, who had come to see the tide, observed 
the Bania, and one of them said to another, 
" The poor Bania will soon perish. You are 
a fast swimmer and can save him if yon will." 
" You don't know, " replied the person appeal- 
ed to, " he never does a thing unless he has 
some definite object to gain. Besides, he has 
never in his life helped a fellow creature, so 
■why should others endanger their lives for 
him ? I_ am sure he has fallen into the river 
to take out something, and he must abide by 
the consequences. " So saying they stayed 


where they were and quietly observed the 
struggle. The helpless Bania fought hard for 
his life, but at last perished in the struggle. 
Moral: — Do to others as you would be 
done by ; that is the perfect standard for 
the guidance of men in their dealings .with 
each other. It is a righteous retribution when 
the conduct we mete out to others is measured 
back to ourselves. Where villany goes before, 
vengeance follows after. 


" Gall me an ass. " 

Once upon a time a villager was driving 
a bullock cart full of hay, from one village 
to another. On the way he fell in with a 
* Kathi who begged him to give him a seat 
in the cart. " I will take you up on one con- 
dition, " replied the villager ; " I am very 
much afraid of that hukkd, in your hand. The 
wind is blowing hard, and a spark of fire from 

* Kathi = a class of land-holders from whom 
Kdthiawar (land of the KAthis) takes its name. 


your ht!tkkii-bowl -niil reduce all my hay to 
ashes in no time; but if you put out the 
fire, I have no objection to taking you with 
me. " 

" I'ill take great care of the bowl, " said 
the Kilthi. " You need have no concern about 

" I am not so sure of that. A tiny spark 
is sure to set the whole cart ablaze. I am 
not prepared to take that risk. " 

" But I assure you that I won't let a spark 
fly out and burn your hay, '' urged the Kdthi. 

" But what if the worst comes to the 
worst ? " 

" Call me an ass if it turns out to be so ! " 

" Calling you an ass will do me no good," 
responded tha villager. " So, to be on the 
safe side, I won't have you in my cart. " 

So saying he drove on leaving the K^thi 

Moral: — We must be careful in whom 
we put our trust, and not imagine that those, 
whose general character is bad, will show 
exceptional favour and kindness to ourselves. 



" All the gods will slowly disappear, 

leaving behind them the idols of wood 

and stone." 

In a certain Jain temple, where the cere- 
monies were performed by a man named Dahyo, 
the images of the 24 | Tirthankars were all 
made of gold and silver with the exception of 
that of § Parslivan&,th which was made of 
marble and surrounded by wooden idols. 

Dtihyo could not withstand the tempta- 
tion of making all this gold and silver his 
own, and made away with an image every 
week. He melted it and sold it secretly in 
distant towns to avoid detection. 

After half a dozen idols had been stolen 
in this way, the Jains noticed that they were 
missing ; they summoned Dahyo before them 
and asked him to explain the disappearance 
of their gods. " I had a dream, " said the 
sly Pdjari ( Dahyo ), " a month ago, when 

% Tirth»nker8 = The 24 Gods of the Juins. 
§ Parthvanath = One of the 24 gods. 


the Tirthankers plainly told me that they 
were heartily tired of this world and its 
inhabitants and would shortly leave them. 
They seem to have kept their word, and I 
fear the rest will do the same in a short time 1 
but I am forgetting to tell you one thing. 
At my earnest prayer to leave at least one 
for us to worship, they promised to leave us 
the marble image of P^rshvandth and the 
surrounding wooden idols I " The silly Shrawaks 
( Jains ) believed every word of this fabrication 
and trembled at the divine wrath to which 
they had fallen victims. 

The dishonest PAj^ri at once made away^ 
with the remaining images and left the stone 
one to take care of itself. 

Moral : — Credulous persons are the prey^ 
of crafty ones. 


Jack would wipe his nose if he had one !* 


A Mahomkdan named KhadA used to 
fetch a bundle of hay from the fields every 
morning, and maintain himself and family on 
what it brought him. His body had never felt 
the touch of new clothes, nor had his feet 
ever experienced the luxury of shoes. Although 
the Mia was in such a miserable condition, 
pride lurked under his thread-bare cloak. 
He quarrelled with his wife all day long, and 
beat and abused her for nothinsf. 

One day the bundle of hay did not fetch 
sufficient money to buy food for the whole day, 
and the Mia had therefore to go without 
supper at night. As if it were the fault 
of his wife, he took her to task and began 
to abuse her right and left. " I had nothing 
in the house, or I would have cooked it for 
you, " meekly said the Bibi (wife), " it is no 
use abusing me for what is no fault of mine. " 
"It is not my fault either , " said the Mia 
indignantly; " if you won't keep quiet, I'ill 
break your head with my shoes. " " But where 
on earth have you got them ? " appropriately 
remarked the Bibi; " buy a pair first, and then 
talk of breaking my head with them ' " 


The Mia was silenced by this just and 
iLppropriate retort. 


The handle of the axe is the destruction 
of its progenitor. 

A Woodcutter ^-ent one day into a forest 
with only the blade of an axe, to fell trees. 
The trees, instead of being sorry at their ap- 
proaching destruction, began to laugh loudly; 
for, they knew very well that the blade by 
itself could do them no harm. The wood- 
cutter tried the blade on every tree, but with- 
out success. He returned home much dejected 
and related his misfortune to his friends. They 
advised him to get ha andle of wood attached 
to the blade, before he next went into the 
woods. He at once went to a joiner, got a 
strong handle of wood fixed to the blade, and 
■went to the woods next morning. When the 
trees saw him, they began to weep and say 


to each other, " Now that one of us, meaning 
the handle which is made of wood, has gone 
over to the enemy, we are sure to be ruined. 
The woodcutter began to hack and hew with* 
out distinction, and a heap of the noblest 
trees lay at his feet in no time. 

MoRAii: — A house divided .against itself 
cannot stand. The tale is intended to show 
the evils of family disunion. Quarrels are at 
jail times odious; how much more so when 
they take place among those bound by the 
ties of blood, duty, nature, relationship and 
self-interest to be the allies and protectors of 
each other ? 

A niche in the wall. 

A Mahombdan named Tism^rkh^n was 
brought to such a state of poverty that he 
prepared to dispose of the house in which he 
lived. There was a niche in the wall of one 
of the rooms which the Mid kept to himself, 


while the rest of the building was sold to a 
Banid. It was plainly stated in the document 
of sale that the niche dedicated to a * Peer 
and situated in such and such a room was 
the Mia's, and that he could make what use 
he would of it. Failing to perceive the Mia's 
motive in reserving such a right in the house 
to himself, the Bania did not object to it. 

A week after the Bania came into posses- 
sion of the house, the Mia went there, and 
after burning incense and oiFering prayers to 
the Peer, went away. On the following friday, 
he went to the house with half a dozen mos- 
lems who had vows to perform, so he said, 
to the Peer. The Bania objected to give ad- 
mission to so many persons, but the Mia re- 
ferred him to the deed, and claimed entrance 
as a matter of right. The Bania had no al- 
ternative but to quietly put up with the In- 
convenience and trouble which he himself had 
brought upon his family. 

Things were going on in this way, when 

the time came for the performance of the 

marriage ceremony of the Bania's only son. 

* Peer = A Saint. ' ' 


In the evening of the marriage guests began 
to pour in and were arranged in two rows. 
Sweetmeats and vegetables were served, and 
the host was exhorting them to do full justice 
to the fare when the Mia accompanied by a 
nmnber of Mussalmans broke in like a bolt 
from the blue. He peremptorily asked the 
Bania to let him pass on to thejniche of his 
Peer where he had to sacrifice a goat that 
nighfi. The poor Bania was in a fix. He 
could not allow the Mia to pass as that wowld 
pollute the whole caste, nor could he refuse 
him the admission to which he was entitled. 
Again the killing of a goat in the house, 
where the sacred marriage ceremony was to 
be performed, was a sin that would tell heavily 
against the newly united couple. The 
guests came to the Bania's help and asked 
the Mia on what terms he would resign his^ 
right to the niche. The Mia, who had all 
along been waiting for this opportunity, de- 
manded as much for the small hole in the 
wall as he had received for the whole house. 
The Bania had to satisfy the demand, unjust 
and unreasonable as it was, to escape further 


molestation. From that day the Bania resolved 
to think twice before he acted. 

Moral : — Experience teachea. No second 
warning is required to teacli a wise man to 
eschew what he has once proved to be hurt- 
ful. A burnt child naturally dreads the fire. 


Sticking fast to a thing. 

There lived in Petldd a Kilnbi named 
Hari Patel. He was one of the leading per- 
sons of his caste and was ofen appointed an 
arbitrator in caste disputes ; he had an only 
son named Bhago who was a great blockhead 
and knew very little about the world and its 
ways. When the Patel was on his death-bed 
he summoned Bhago before him and addressed 
him as follows : — " My son, I have not long 
to live in this world ; what I grieve most 
about is what will become of you after I have 
passed away. You are too stupid to look after 


yourself, and there is nobody to whose care 
I can safely entrust you. If you, however, 
assure ma that you will mend your ways I 
shall die contented. " Bhago, who was not a 
bad boy at heart, was overcome by the appeal 
of his dyin^ parent, and solemnly promised to 
follow his advice to the very letter; where- 
upon the father said, " sticking fast to a thing 
is the surest way to success. Patience and 
perseverence will overcome a mountain. Re- 
member this, there are difficulties in the way 
of attaining most things worth having ; but 
they are only placed there to be overcome, 
to be subdued not to be shunned from fear 
or turned from in idleness." 

Bhago promised his father that from that 
day he would stick fast to everything he under- 
took and he religiously kept his promise. ^Soon 
after this the Patel died leaving Bhago to 
guide himself as best as he could. 

One day in the rainy season as Bhago 
was sowing Bajri in his field, he saw an ass 
enter his field from the opposite side. Bhago 
ran after it club in hand and seized the mia^ 
chievous fellow by the tail. The ass brayed 


and kicked but Bhago ' stuck fast ' to it. In 
prdei' to get free, the ass kicked Bhago right 
and left and hurt him in several places, but 
he would not let go his hold. He suffered 
himself, to be dragged through the streets of 
Petlad and laughed at by the people, but he 
did not for a moment think of violating the 
sacred promise made to his father on his death 
bed ! Being much bruised, he at last became 
unconscious, and It was only then that the tail 
slipped out of his hands. 

Moral : — It is wise to consider a course 
of conduct in all its bearings before we deter- 
mine on it. We must weigh well the conse- 
quences before we jum^) at a thing. 

' So got, so gone. * 

A Milkmaid living in a village used to 
go every morning and evening to a neighbour- 
ing town to sell milk. For a few months 


she supplied her customers with pure and fresh 
milk and established her relputation as aa 
honest dealer, until at last her custom rose 
so high that the milk she brought fell short 
of demand. In order to meet the growing de- 
mand, she, one day, mixed, with the milk, 
some water from a rivulet that lay between 
her village and the town. The mixture was 
soon disposed of, and with money in her pot, 
she left the town for her native place. On 
her way, she stopped on the bank of the rivulet 
to drink some water. After satisfying her 
thirst, she took the money out of the pot, 
and after counting it, deposited it on the bank 
and began to wash the milk-pot. 

Now it so happened that a kite, thinking 
it to be some sort of food, pounced upon the 
coppers and seizing as many as her beak could 
hold flew away. The milkmaid began to cry 
and beat her breast at this sudden loss and 
was cursing her fate when the kite let fall 
the money into the rivulet, on which another 
milkmaid, who had noticed the adulteration 
that morning, remarked, " Why do you weep, 
sister? you must know that cheating never. 


prospers and craft brings nothing home. In 
fact you have lost nothing ; for, to naught 
it has gone that came from naught, " This 
silenced the woman and from that day she 
left off mixing water with milk. 

Moral: — How often do men give up 
honour and future prosperity for a temporary 
pleasure or gain ! They don't see that the 
retribution of their sin can not falt^'I^Sr^ke 
them in the end. They must know that ho'nesty 
is the best policy. 


A boon asked by a blind man. 

Thbrk lived in Somnath Patan a Banijt 
named llamdds. Small-pox had deprived him 
of his eyesight when he was a mere child, and 
to add to his misfortunes, his parents died 
leaving him quite helpless and dependent on 
public charity. At last a pious man took 
compassion on him and provided him with a 


free board and lodging at his house. He 
also taught him to sing religious hymns, and 
in a short time, he learnt a number of them 
by heart, as the blind naturally have a very 
retentive memory. 

One day as the blind Bania was singing 
hymns in the temple of Somndth, * Shan- 
kara was so very pleased with his devotion that 
he appeared before him and commanded hinat 
to ask a boon. The Bania was overjoyed at 
his good luck and began to revolve in his 
mind what he had best demand. " If I seek 
back my eyesight, " thought he, " it would 
still leave me a poor man. If I demand riches, 
how can I enjoy them without eyesight ? 
Again I am a bachelor. If I ask for a wife, 
what are we to live upon ? Shankara never 
grants two favours at a time. I must there- 
fore frame my demand in such terms §is will 
include all that I want and still look like on& 
demand. " When, therefore, asked again by 
Shankara to demand a boon, he said, "Mighty 
Lord of the Universe, if you are really pleased 

• Shankara = The third of the mndu Triad. Th& 


with me I have no other desire . but ' to see 
my youngest son's wife churning creata in a 
gold pot on the seventh storey of my house ! ' 
This meant eyesight, a wife, sons more than 
one, riches, a palatial building and much 
else. Shankara had to grant all these things 
to keep his promise, but from that day he 
thought twice before he made a promise to a 
Banid ! 


• The Bhats of Mesana dine to morrow. ' 

There is a large population of Bhats in 
Mesiind, who . in ancient time claimed, as a 
matter of right, to be fed when there was a 
caste-dfnner among the Banias. As it was 
thought very unreasonable and expensive, 
the Banias had wisely stopped the caste- 
dinners altogether. Once, however, a tich 
Bania resolved to give a caste-dinner and ex- 
clude the Bhats therefrom. With this object, 
he issued invitations among the Banias only. 


When the.Bhats heard this, they proceeded 
in a body to the * Sheth's house and sat there 
fasting in order to enforce tlieir claim. The 
t Mahajan, however, did not lisLen to them ; 
whereupon the Bhats took to extreme mea- 
sures, and witla swords and knives in hand, 
they threatened the Banias that if they per- 
sisted in not feeding them, they would shed 
their own blood, and the sin would devolve 
upon the Banias' heads. This was too much 
for the Banias, and in order to stop bloodshed 
they promised the Bhats to feed them the 
next day. The Bhats were not, however, to 
be taken in like that, but replied that they 
must have the promise in black and white. 
A document was therefore prepared in which 
were written the following words : — ' The 
Bhats of Mesfind, dine tomorrow. ' Neither 
place nor date were mentioned. The Mahajan 
affixed their signs manual to it, and the Bhats 
returned to their places to prepare for the next 
day's feast, 

* Sheth = A leader among the Banias. 
t Mahajan = Leading persons of the Bania com- 


The next morninjr the Bhats went to 
the Mahjljan and demanded a large quantity 
of flour, ghee and sugar to prepare sweet balls. 
The Mah^jan laughed at them and asked them 
with surprise in their looks what right they 
had to make such a foolish demand. " We 
have your promise in black and white, '' an- 
grily exclaimed the Bhats, " and we won't 
let you escape it. " " And what does that 
promise say ? " Asked one of the Banias. 
' That the Bhats of Mesanii dine tomorrow ' ; 
'* Well, then why do you come to-day ? ' Asked 
the Banias. " Because the promise was made 
yesterday, '' retorted the Bhats. " Does the 
document bear yesterday's date ? Demanded 
the Banias. the Bhats referred to the docu-. 
ment but there was no date in it. So they 
said, " Never mind the document. We have 
your word and that is enough. " " That comes 
too late, my friends, " said the Banias ; we 
are prepared to carry out whatever is written 
on that paper. You had better leave us at 
present and come when the promise falls due. " 
This curt reply struck the Bhats dumb. 
They tore the paper to pieces and went away. 


Moral: — Force without foresight is of 
no avail. The chief excellency of man consists 
in fertility of invention and discovery of re- 
sources and expedients in situations of danger 
and difficulty. 

Who is the wiser of the two? 

There was in a Native State of Glijardt 
a KAnbi named G^ndo Patel who owned several 
acres of land, and was, moreover, the head- 
man of his caste. 

Once on New year's day, Gando Patel 
sent his son to the Kdtcheri with sugar and 
eocoanut to be offered to the king as is the 
custom among the native states of India. The 
young Patel, after performing the *E^m-Rdm 
ceremony, placed the eocoanut and the sugar 
at the king's feet whereupon the latter ordered 
his attendants to give the Patel tP«in-Sup^ri 

* Ram-Ram = God bless you. 
t PaD-S4p£iri and Uttar = Betel leaf and otto 
or Essence of flowers. 


and Uttar. The country bred KAnbi had 
never in his life seen Uttar, so he received 
it in the hollow of his hand, and thinking it 
to be sacred water of some sort, he first applied 
it to his eyes and forehead and then licked 
it off! This made the whole Kutcheri roar 
with lavighter. 

A few days later, Gando Patel went to 
the king on some business connected with his 
land, when the king referred to the Uttar in- 
cident, and advised the Patel to teach manners 
to his son. " He is a stupid boy, my liege, " 
said the Patel, " or he would not have used 
the costly Uttar in that way ! if I were in 
bis place, I would have taken it home and 
eaten it with Bdjri-bread ! " The king could 
not help laughing at the Patel's ignorance 
and was at a loss to decide whether the father 
or the son was the wiser ! 

' Waging war against the sun ' ! 


A. CERTAIN village of Gnjardt, chiefly in- 
habited by Mahomedan land-owners, was under 
British jurisdiction, and the Government offices 
were situated in a town five miles from the 
village ; so that the Mias had to go there 
very often. As a rule, they took their break- 
fast, consisting of a large dose of opium and 
a larger one of sweetmeats, after sun rise, and 
then leisurely proceeded to the town with 
hukkds in their hands. After doing business 
in the town, they left it in the afternoon, 
after another dose of opium and sweetmeats. 

As the town was situated due East from 
the village, they had to put up with the burning 
rays of the sun which played directly on their 
faces at both times of the day. 

Once in summer, as the Mias were return- 
ing from the town in the afternoon, they felt 
the heat so trying that the first thing they 
resolved to do on reaching home was to hold 
a meeting to discuss the means of effectually 
stopping the mischievous pranks of the sun. 
The meeting was accordingly held and it was 
unanimously resolved to declare war against 
the sun. 


Next morning all the Mahomedans of 
the place armed themselves with swords and 
spears and bows and arrows, and marched out 
of the village gate to meet the common foe 
in the open field I A Bania, who had seen 
the martial procession move out, followed them 
to the village gate, and approaching the 
general of the warlike band, he said, " It is 
not fair to march against an enemy without 
previously informing him of your intention. 
Again, seeing you in earnest, he will most 
probably come to terms and spare you un- 
necessary trouble. " " But who will take our 
message to him and settle the dispute ami- 
cably ? " asked the general, " I will do that 
for you, if you promise to pay me 500 rupees 
after I have amicably settled the dispute. '* 
The Mias agreed to the proposal, went home 
and eagerly awaited the Bauia's return. 

At night fall the Bania came back with 
a radiant face and exclaimed, " I have succeeded. 
He wouldn't listen to me at first, but when I 
mentioned your name he actually trembled 
with fear. He has, however agreed to keep 
away from your path on one condition and I 


am sure you won't object to it. He wishes 
you to reverse the order of your journey, that 
is to go to the town in the afternoon and 
return therefrom in the morning ! " 

The Mias accepted the condition and tried 
the experiment on the following day. The 
sua no longer faced them and they were quite 
satisfied. The Bania received the stipulated 
sum and went home inwardly chuckling at 
his ingenuity and laughing at the Mias for 
their stupidity. 

Moral : — The tale teaches a double lesson. 
That every fool is at last found an ass; and 
that we must beware of self-interested advisers. 


"Who can spin so much cotton.?" 

BiBijAN, a Mahomedan widow of Ahmed4- 
bdd, earned bread for herself and daughter by 
spinning cotton on a country wheel at which 
she worked from morn till night, turning out 


about ^ ft. of fine thread which she sold to 
the weavers. The spinning wheels and weaving 
looms were all worked with hand as nobody 
knew anything about spinning and weaving 
mills worked by steam power. This manual 
labour afforded daily bread to so many widows 
and orphans that the one-meal- a-day state of 
things and starvation were unknown in those 
days. Much of the Indian cotton was then 
exported to England, for, the product was much 
in excess to the consumption. 

Once Bibijan went to Cambay to see her 
parents. As she was one day walking on the 
t Bunder with her daughter, the girl's eyes 
fell on a large ship laden with bales, and she 
asked her mother what they contained and 
where they were taking them. " They contain 
cotton, my dear, '' replied the mother, " and 
they send them to * Vildyat to be spun and 
woven into cloth." "My lord!" exclaimed 
the girl, " who can spin so much cotton ? 

J Bunder = A sea-port ; here it means sea-shore, 
* Vildyat = Lit means ' Home', England beiag 

the home of the Englishmen is known as 

Vildyat in this country. 


Vilayat must surely be a country inhabited 
by widows only !! '' 

Moral : — They that be in hell think there's 
no heaven. 


It is your mace that commands respect, 
not you." 

There was, in the servic3 of a native 
prince, a mace-bearer who oppressed the people 
very much ; his chief business being to get 
unpaid labourers for the state. This was like 
putting a naked sword in a mad man's hand. 
Ho was a terror to the poor who ran away 
at the mere sight of him. They dared not 
complain against him to the king, for he was a 
royal favourite, and they had, therefore, no other 
alternative but to patiently submit to his rod 
of iron. 

One evening the mace-bearer went to 


*Dhedh-w^dd to get hold of some Dhedhas 
for tVetha. The poor Dhedhas had just 
returned from a hard day's work and were 
quite tired out. When, therefore, asked by 
the mace-bearer to go with him, they humbly 
replied that as they were quite exhausted, 
they would do his bidding in the morning. 
But the mace-bearer was not a man to be 
trifled with. He began to abuse and beat 
them right and left. Being unable to stand 
this sort of thing any longer, one of the 
Dhadhas came forward and spoke as follows: — 
" Do your worst, man. We won't move an 
inch hence. We would show you what stuff we 
are made of, but that mace in your hand dis- 
arms us. Put that aside and see what we can 
do. " The mace-bearer threw down the mace 
and commanded the Dhedhiis in his own name 
to go with him that instant. Seeing him reduced 
to the same level as themselves, the Dhedhas 
attacked him in a body and beat him to their 
hearts' content. 

The mace-bearer lodged a complaint against 

* Dhedh-wdda = A place inhabited by Dhedhds. 
t Vetha = Forced labour. 


the Dhedhds who were summoned to the court. 
In defence they related the previous day's oc- 
curance and added that the mace-bearer was 
guilty of insulting the king for having thrown 
down the royal mace. The king at once dis- 
missed the high-handed and oppressive officer 
and rewarded the Dhedhas for their moral 

Moral: — Where rulers are mere figure-heads 
and the officers deal falsely and exercise cruelty 
the state does not prosper. 

He that shows his purse longs to be rid 

of it. 

There lived in Navsdri a fMochi named 
FAlio who was a great miser. At the end 
of thirty years of hard labour and strict 
economy he had amassed 999 rupees-a fortune 
to a man of his position. These rupees he 
t Mochi=A shoe-maker. 


neither put out to interest nor kept them in 
a box ill his house. He dug a deep hole in 
the cow-shed just under a nail, and putting 
the rupees in an earthen jar and sealing its 
mouth with wheat paste, he buried it four 
feet deep. 

FAlio was considered a very rich man in 
his caste. The first and the only question, 
he put to every customer that came to his 
shop, was how much ready cash he owned. 
If it was more than 999, he would keep quiet; 
but if it chanced to be less, he would laugh 
at its possessor and call him a comparatively 
poor man. The words * nine hundred and 
ninety nine ' were on the tip of his tongue, and 
were repeated twice in an hour. Everybody 
in the town knew what Fulio was worth, but 
nobody was aware of the whereabouts of the 
nine hundred and ninety-nine. 

One day, two persons of very questionable 
reputation went to Fulia's shop, and after 
giving the measurement of their feet for a 
couple of pairs of shoes, they purposely referred 
to the capital and capitalists of the town. 
Fulio at once asked them what they themselves 


were worth. The noefcurial knights said very 
hesitatingly that they were very poor, and 
did not own more than five hundred rupees 
between them, " That's nothing, " said Fulio ; 
"I have with nia at this moment 999 rupees." 
The thieves made as if they doubted the truth 
of Fulia's statement and said, " There is neither 
a box nor a cupboard in your house. Where 
on earth do you keep such a large sum ? " 
" In the cow-shed, under the nail, " replied 
Fulio promptly ; '• that's the safest place ; 
for, nobody would look for rupees there. " 

After talking for a while, the customers 
took their leave. At midnight they broke 
into Fulia's compound, and digging out the 
rupees, they made away with them. The next 
morning, Fulio found to his grief that the 
rupees were stolen. He had nobody but him- 
self to blame, for, his misfortune was of his 
own creation. 

MoBAL : — A fool and his money are soon 
parted. Many of the troubles of life are 
brought on men by their own faults. 


A learned fool. 

There lived in Sojitr^, a village in GAjardt, 
a learned Brdhmin named Gafalshanker. He 
wais well-versed in the Ved^s and maintained 
sacrificial fire in his house. He had an only 
son named Vidy^dhara whom he wished to 
bring up as a *Vedid,. When \'idyadhara 
was seven years of age, the sacred-thread cere- 
mony was performed, and in the following year 
he was married to a girl of a good family. 

Immediately after marriage the boy was 
sent to Kdshi to study the Vedas and other 
religieus books. There he lived with a f G6r<i 
who gave him free board and lodging and 
imparted tuition free of charge. In return for 
this tremendous obligation, Vidyadhara had 
to go a-begging for the GArti every morning, 
and do all sorts of work for the §Gorani ; 
cleaning the cooking pots, sweeping the house 

* 'Vedia=One well-versed in the Vedas. 
t Gdrfi = A religious preceptor. 
§ Gorani = Glir6'a wife. 


and washing the clothes were among the work 
he did for the household. 

At the end of ten years of hard labour 
mental and physical, he was examined by a 
committee of learned Brahmins who asked him 
to repeat a number of Shlokas which he did 
like a parrot. He was declared successful and 
the degree of ' Pundit ' was conferred upon him^ 
He, then, took leave of his G^rA and Gor^lni 
and left for his native village. 

One fine morning, after two months'^ 
journey on foot, he approached Sojitra, his 
native village, and sat down beneath a bunyan 
tree, that grew on the bank of the river, to 
take rest. A Bania boy, who was of the same 
age as Vidyadhara and who knew him w^ll, 
happened to pass by at the time. As soon 
as he caught sight of his old companion, he 
ran to him and the frieijds were soon locked 
in each other's embrace. After a while the 
Bania asked the Brahmin how far he had 
studied to which the latter replied that he 
knew all the Vedas by heart. The following- 
conversation then took place between them, 

" Are my people all right ? " asked the 


Pundit. "Yes they are, with one exception." 

" And what is that ? " 

" You just take off your clothes and stand 
in the bed of the river ; then I 'ill tell you 
what it is, " responded the Bania. 

The Pundit did as he was asked to do 
and then asked Bania what it was. The 
Bani^t said with a grave face, " your wife 
has become a widow ! " 

" Poor woman, I am much grieved to 
hear that. " So saying the Brahmin began to 
weep piteously. The Bania consoled him and 
advised him to cover his face with a cloth 
and go home weeping. The learned fool did 
so, and sat at the door of his house weeping 
loudly. The noise attracted the inmates of 
the house. With great trouble they stopped 
him crying, and taking him indoors, asked him 
the cause of his so doing. " You know the 
reason as well as I do, " said the Pundit ; 
" Why did you not inform me at Kdshi that 
my poor wife was widowed ? " His widowed 
sister who was standing by could not help 
laughing at the simplicity of her brother. 
" How is that possible, you idiot ? " She re- 


marked. " She can't be a widow as long as 
jon are in the laud of the living ! " 

" What has ray life or death to do with 
her widowhood ? " Argued the Pundit ; "why, 
take your own ease. They call you a widow 
in spite of my being alive ! what prevents 
my wife then from being so called ? ! " 

Moeal: — A handful of common sense is 
better than a bushel of learning. There is a 
saying and a true one that ' knowledge with- 
out practice makes but half an artist. ' Read 
not books alone but men. 


' Half the ^.^ Juwar belongs to Mia. ' 

A Mahomedan named Rasulkhdn was the 
t Kotwsil of P&lanpur, a town, which formed 
a part of the MogulEmpire. Ras<ilkh4n lived 
there as the only representative of the Mogul 

* Juwar = A sort of food grain, 
t Kotwal = A police Magistrate, 


Emperor, and was entrusted with judicial as 
well as executive powers. Unlike his caste- 
fellows, he was a politician of no mean abilities, 
an instance of which is given below. 

A Bania was once getting a cellar cleaned 
and plastered for the storage of JAwar, as a 
provision against famine. When the cellar 
was filled to the brim, and the Bania was 
preparing the account thereof to be deposited 
along with the Juwar for future reference, the 
Kotwdl happened to pass by his house, and 
the Banid, invited him to have a look at the 
cellar. After complimenting, the .Bania on 
his prudence and foresight, the Kotwal picked 
up a grain of Jtllwdr from the cellar, and 
dividing it into two pieces, he put one into 
the cellar and threw away the other. He 
then asked the Bania to mention in the paper 
that half the JAwAr belonged to Mid ! Suspect- 
ing this demand to be the outcome of some 
evil design, the Bania at first refused to do so, 
but by force and persuasion, more especially 
the former, the Mia at last prevailed upon 
the Bania to accept his share and make men- 
tion of it in the paper to be deposited along 


with the JAvvdr. 

After a decade, a disastrous f3,mine over- 
took that part of Gujarat in which the Baiiia 
resided and the prices of food-grain rose four- 
fold. With the object of disposing of the 
Juwdr and making a large profit by the sale, the 
Bauia opened the cellar. No sooner did the 
Mia hear that the cellar was opened, than he 
came to the Bania's house, and claimed half 
the quantity of Juw^r for himself. The Bania 
reminded him in vain that it was not half 
the quantity but only half a grain of JAw^r 
that he had deposited in the cellar. " You 
may say what you like, " said the wily Mia, 
" but fortunately for me that paper remains 
as an evidence in my favour ! " So saying 
he summoned a few respectable people of 
the town and placed the paper before them. 
It was plainly stated therein that half the 
JAw^r belonged to Mia, and the committee, 
who knew nothing about the matter, gave 
their decision in Mia's favour on the streno-th 


of that evidence in black and white. In short 
the Bania had to give half the contents of 
the cellar to Mi4 for nothing. 


Moral: — Words may pass away and be 
forgotten, «but that which is committed to 
writing will remain as evidence. We must, 
therefore, be very careful of what we give in 
black and white. 

A Shepherd always dreams of open fields. 

There was onca a shepherd named Noghan 
who owned some cattle and led the life of a 
nomad. A European Gentleman once bought 
his cow and took the shepherd with him to 
Bombay to look after it. Noghan who had 
passed his life between villages and fields was 
wonderstruck with the palatial buildings of 
Bombay and a variety of things he had never 
seen in his life. 

The Saheb lived in a grand bungalow 
on the AppoUo Bunder. The shepherd was 
assigned a room furnished with thick carpets, 
bent^wood chairs, sofas, a spring cot and a 


clock. The shepherd did not feel at homo 
in the bungalow and looked much con- 
fused After passing a few weary hours in 
this unknown place, he asked one of the ser- 
vants where he could go to answer the call 
of nature. The servant led him to a latrine ; 
but no sooner did Noghan enter it than he 
came back, and running to the Saheb he ex- 
claimed, " That fellow there played me an 
evil trick. I asked him to lead me to a latrine 
and he took me to the kitchen instead, for, 
I saw a stone hearth there with my own 
eyes ! '' The Saheb laughed at him and ex- 
plained to him that it was not a kitchen but 
a latrine. 

In the evening the Saheb's servants took 
him out for a walk. But he had not moved 
more than a few steps from the bungalow 
when he stopped short in the middle of the 
road and asked the servants to take him back 
to the bungalow. When asked the reason, he 
pointed to several houses standing in front of 
him and exclaimed. "They have heaped the 
rooms one over another without fastening them 
with ropes ! They are sure to come down 


one of these days, and I won't risk my life 
by walking under tliem ! " 

At night Noghan did not sleep on the 
cot for fear of falling down. He laid himself 
down on the floor, but he could not sleep, 
th^ tuck tuck of the clock kept him awake for 
the whole night. He could not identify the 
STund with that of any bird or beast, tame 
OL" wili, that he had come across in the woods. 
He got up early next morning, went to the 
Saheb's room and prayed him with tears in 
hi3 eyes to let him go to his native village. 

M0RA.L : — He who stays in the valley will 
n'jver ^o over the hill. 

Cf. ' Give me again my hollow tree, 
A crust of bread and liberty.' 

' A negro thinks his own child the hand- 
somest. ' 

A King once asked his negro slave to 
procure him the handsomest child from the 


town, as he had taken a vow to get one 
and pass ifc through the streets of the town 
in right royal poaip. The slave wandered 
from house to house but not a single child 
oame up to his ideal of beauty. Quite overcome 
with fatigue, he at last went to his house and 
informed his wife of the king's order. " You 
ought to have come home directly, " said his 
wife, " and taken our dear little Habib to 
the king ; for he is the handsomest child in 
the whole town ! *' The negro at once took 
the hint, and went with his glossy black cherub 
to the royal presence. " Have you brought me 
the child ? '' asked the king impatiently. " Yes, 
Your Highness, " replied the slave, " and 
here it is. " " What ! you call this child a 
handsome one ! " " And why not, tN^mdd,r ? 
you left the selection to me ; and I have 
made it after wandering over the whole town. " 
The king laughed at him and dismissed him. 
Moral : — Every cock is proud of his own 
dung-lHll, and every ass thinks himself worthy 
to stand with the king's horses. 

t Namddr=Of great name. 



" Come and stay in Malia if you are 
afraid of 1 Allah." 

Malia. is a small town situated in the 
North-west of Kathiawar. It is chiefly in- 
habited by the Mi^nds— a warlike though igno- 
rant race — all Mahomedaps by religion and 
knowing as much of the Kordn as they do of 
the Vedds. They are creatures of impulse, 
and killing a human being is to them like 
killing an anfc. However, if you have once 
broken bread with them, they will not hurt 
a hair of your head as long as they live. 
There is honour even among robbers, they say. 
About ten years ago, Mifin^ outlaws were a 
terror to the whole of Kathiawar, but the 
British officers hunted them from place to place 
like wild beasts and at last succeeded in cap- 
turing and packing most of them off to Port 
Blair, a penal settlement in the Andamans in 
the Bay of Bengal. 

Once upon a time a Miana was returning 
t Allah = God. " 


from a village, when his eyes fell upon an 
Arab performing his J Nimtlz. The Miana 
had never performed the Nimaz himself, al- 
though he was a Mahomedan, nor had he ever 
seen anybody performing it. He was therefore 
surprised to see the Arab standing up for a 
while, then sitting down on his knees, and then 
prostrating himself on the ground, muttering 
something all the time. He thought to him- 
self that the Arab must be greatly troubled 
in mind, and did not therefore know what he 
was about. " Whom ai-e you afraid of, my 
friend ? " Asked the Miana. '■ Of nobody, '' 
answered the Arab. " But your movements 
show that vou are. " Urged the Miana. " I 
was only offering my prayers to Allah, " rep- 
lied the Arab. And who may He be and why 
should you pray to Him ? " Asked the Miana. 
" He is the giver of bread and protector of the 
whole Universe. He forgives our sins if wo 
be really sorry for them, and promisa Him not 
to repeat them. He punishes the evil-doers if 
they don't mend their ways. " I see, exclaimed 
the Miana, " you pray to Him to escape punish- 

X Nimaz = Prayers. 


menfc. Well, if you are afraid of Allah, come and 
stay in Malia, for, nobody cares for Him there !'' 
The Arab thanked him for his kind sug- 
gestion and said he would gladly have recourse 
to it when he was past redemption. 

Presence of mind is the best weapon. 

Once the Emperor Akbar asked Lahuw^ 
what was the best weapon, to which the jester, 
replied that it depended much on the purpose 
for which it was required. A gun would be 
the best weapon to fight with from a distance, 
while a sword would be more useful than a 
gun in a hand to hand fight. "Personally I 
think presence of mind is the best weapon, " 
added the jester. The Emperor was anything 
but satisfied with the strange reply, and said 
that he would some day put his statement 
to the test. 

A few days after this, the Emperor 


was sitting in the balcony of his palace, when 
he saw Laht\wa coming towards the palace. 
He told a keeper to set an elephant free at 
once, and goad him into the narrow lane 
Lahiiwd had to pass through. The order was 
immediately obeyed. When the jester saw the 
elephant approaching, he at once understood 
that it was at the instance of the Emperor 
that this dangerous trick was played upon 
him, which if not met with courage, would 
prove fatal. With that presence of mind for 
which he is so renowned in Indian History, 
he seized a puppy that was lying on the road, 
and threw it at the elephant. The attention 
of the elephant was thus diverted for a short 
time, during which he made good his escape, 
and approaching his royal master, he exclaimed, 
" I hope your Majesty is now convinced that 
presence of mind is the best weapon ; for, a 
gun or a sword would have availed me nought 
at such a critical time. " 

Moral :— A man of courage never wants 



" I would die, if it were only to make 
you a widow. " 

There was a Milrwari who had come to 
and settled in Bombay ; where he started 
bueiuess as a petty grocer and gradually rose 
to be a thriving money-lender. He accomodat- 
ed many a prodigal son of miserly fathers 
with large sums of money on ' Double the 
principal on father's death ' terms. He had 
come to Bombay with a score of rupees plus 
a few cooking pots, and was now worth two 
hundred thousand in hard cash, and as many 
invested in a row of houses, which brought 
him a good round sum every month. 

Now, if you have a look at the census 
returns, you will find that among the Mdrwdris 
males outnumber the females. It is but natural 
that where the demand is greater than the 
supply, the commodity fetches a phenominal 
price. This is exactly the case with the Mar- 
wari girl of marriageable age. She is worth 
her weight in gold ; for, a girl in her teens. 


weighing about 7 stone, fetches as many as 
twenty thoasand rupees. You may call this 
slavery, this buying and selling of girls ; but 
we don't care what other people call it. It 
is enough that we call it *Kanyi-d^n, and it 
is our look out what terms to make while 
bestowing the gift. But I am digressing. 

After a stay of over twenty years in 
Bombay, and when he was in his fortieth 
year, the M4rwdri thought it was time to buy 
a wife, and with the object of securing one, 
he went to his native place and was soon 
married. There is a saying that ' when a 
woman comes in happiness flies. ' " The land 
of marriage, " says a Frenchman, " has this 
peculiarity that strangers are desirous of in- 
habiting it, while its natural inhabitants would 
willingly be banished thence. " To the poor 
Marwari wedlock turned out to be a real pad- 
lock. The woman proved to be a termagant 
and was so quarrelsome that the poor fellow 
knew no rest and cursed the day he was 
married. He had bought her for 25,000 rupees, 
and he found out when it was too late that 

* Kany3,-dS,n = Gift of bride. 


his wickedly acquired money was foolishly 
spent. He abused her and he beat her, but 
she took care to repay it in kind and that 
with interest. The Marwd,ri got at last so 
tired that he resolved to commit suicide and 
thus put an end to his unpleasant life. He 
communicated his intention to his better-half, 
thinking it would have a salutary effect, but 
the woman said quietly, " That does not 
concern me at all ; You are your own master 
and do what you will with yourself. " The 
Marwdri was so enraged at this that he took 
out a knife and while dealing a blow on his, 
throat he exclaimed, " I will die, if it were 
only to make you a widow. '' These words 
were scarcely out of his mouth when he fell 
unconscious on the ground and soon perished. 
His brothers took possession of his property, 
moveable and immoveables and the woman 
was given a hut to live in and repent of her 
sins at leisure. 



" Where shall we graze the cattle ? " 

Two shepherds named Shavdiis and N^jo 
were great friends. They always went to- 
gether to graze their cattle. They ate together, 
played together and sang tDflhas together. 
Shavdas's hut was on one bank of a stream 
while Njlja's was on the other. 

Once in the month of Ashadha (July), it 
rained very heavily all night. When Najo 
rose next morning, he found the stream imfor- 
dable, and he did not know where to take his 
cattl6 that day. He wanted to consult Shavdds 
on the point. He came out of his hut and 
in a shrill voice peculiar to shepherds he asked 
Shavdas to cross over to him as he had some- 
thing of importance to ask him. Fearing that 
the previous 'night's rain had done some 
harm to his friend's hut and cattle, the honest 
shepherd at once threw himself into the swollen 
stream and began to swim across it with great 
vigour. With great difficulty he managed to 

t Dvrtids= Rural songs. 


reach the opposite bank, and dripping with 
water and shivering with cold, he asked his 
friend what he had called him for. " I would 
have come over to you with my cattle, '' said 
Ndjo, " but the stream won't allow me to do 
that. I say, where shall we graze our cattle 
today ? " Shavdas knew not whether to laugh 
or be angry at his friend's conduct. Assuming 
therefore, a serious expression he said, " You 
could have asked me that from where I was. 
There was no need of making rne cross the 
river at the risk of my life. " " I did not 
know that you had grown so lazy as that, or 
I wouldn't have called you at all 1 " retorted 

MoEAL : — He who listens to a fool is a 
greater fool. 

' To go for wool and come home shorn. ' 

There lived in M^ngrol a barber named 
Milo. By hard work and strict economy, he 


had laid by a sum of two hundred rupees. 
Human nature is the same all over the world 
and poor Malo was no exception to it. He 
longed to turn his two hundred into as many 

This Mdlp was the family barber of many 
a big *Shethi^. Barbers are known as news- 
mongers in every country and Malo was a 
worthy member of his class. Whenever he 
was summoned by a Shethia on professional 
duty, he kept prattling from the beginning 
to the end of shaving operation. What each 
Shethia was worth and how he came by his 
fortune were MftU's questions to everybody. 
When he Avas once told by one of his rich 
clients that he owed his fortune to trade. 
Mdlo at once resolved to turn a trader with- 
out knowing the A, B, C, of the business. He 
asked the Shethia what he had better do. 
" You had better be content with what you 
have, " said the Shethia, " for, trade is not 
in youv line and you will never succeed in it. " 

The foolish barber thought that the Shethia 
did not wish that he should be a rich man, 
* Shethia = A rich merchant. 


and therefore dissuaded him from trying his 
hand at commerce.. He, therefiare. sought the 
advice of another Shethia who happened to 
be a great rogue. He knew Malo's propen- 
sities and thought of teaching him a lesson 
that would bring him to his senses. One day, 
therefore, when M41o as usual put him the 
question, he said, ' ' I hear from my agent 
at Junagadh that a company of Sepoys will 
shortly leave there for Mangrol. They will 
arrive here by the end of the week. These 
Sepoys are very fond of potherbs, and anybody 
who lays in a stock of those vegetables against 
their arrival is sure to make a fortune. It is 
below my dignity, and my caste-fellows would 
not allow me to do it, or I myself would go 
and buy up all potherbs to be had ten miles 
round, and sell them to the troopers ai a 
rupee a pound ! " 

Msfclo hastily finished the operation, went 
home, and with the two hundred rupees in 
his pocket, he ran to the Bazdr and bought 
oft* all the potherbs. Then he went to the 
surrounding villages and imported cart-loads 
of the vegetables from thence, and deposited 


all in a warehouse to be opened when the 
troops arrived. Day after day passed without 
any sign of the Sepoys' coming, and the ve- 
getables began to putrify. Growing impatient 
at last he went to the Bania and asked him 
when the Sepoys were coming. " My agent, " 
said the Bania calmly, "is silent on the point; 
so, I fear they have taken another route. 
You know as well as I do that ' Forees and 
fish rush against the current. ' Now that they 
have not reached here by this time, I don't 
think they will come at all ! " The barber 
stood aghast at this unexpected news and knew 
not what to do with a house full of potherbs. 
Quite overcome by this sudden misfortune, 
he dragged himself home with great difficulty 
and with despair depicted on his face. On 
opening the warehouse he found the vegetables 
all rotten and unfit for use. He disposed them 
of for a few coppers to a cultivator who carted 
it to his field to use it as manure. The new 
merchant adventurer quietly returned to his 
old trade and never repeated the experiment. 
Moral : — We should never be tempted to 
risk the chances of a blind fortune. In the 


present day, every tempting wave of specula- 
tion leads people to risk its perils, and they 
are happy if they gain prudence by the loss 
of their first venture. 

"She is no gift; for, I have paid for her." 

Bhagwandas was a University man. He 
was a member of the Kayastha comoaunifcy 
and his parents lived in Broach. He attended 
every meeting of the social conference and 
was a tSudharawdllah at heart. He strongly 
held that social reforms must precede political 
ones, and his mind was therefore bent upon 
eradicating social evils at any cost. He began 
at the beginning and strove to impress upon 
the ignorant mass that early marriages and 
the sale of girls were the two potent causes of 
the increasing number of widows every year. 
He firmly held that the question of widow re- 
marriage would to a gi-eat extent disappear if 
these two evils were checked in time. When 
the people of the old school heard him, they 

t S6dharawalldh = A social reformer. 


shook their heads and said, " He is yet a, 
child and has not seen the world. Experience 
comes with age. The silly boy thinks that his 
ancestors were fools. " 

Once he was invited to a ingtrriagB party, 
held in honour of a bridegroont-sg^eti sixty arid 
a baby-bride of thirteen ! He; Was so struck at 
the difference between their, a^e, that he gave a, 
free expression to his feelings .9.nd'IJeft'in dia»- 
gust. His caste-fellows resente"d ' his conduct 
and came to a private understanding that none 
should ever propose to give his daughter in mar.-'' 
riage to Bhagwandas. The yoUngi'&foinjfft" di-^' 
not in the least mind this step of theirs, but his 
aged father felt it very much. He longed to 
see his son married and settled in life befora 
his eyes were closed. He therefore privately 
arranged with a needy father to give his 
daughter in marriage to Bhagwandas in return 
for 5,000 rupees paid to him in advance. A1-. 
though the sale of daughters is going on on 
an extensive scale at the present day and has 
proved a capital invention, it has not as yet 
gained a universal sanction and has not there-i 
fore grown into a custom. But it is making 


rapid strides and has made its way into most 

families whence it is not likely to be turned 

out. However that may be, the sale of girls 

is icfqk^d* .upon as a disgrace and the bargain 

4§-inYarJa,bly/s^ruck in private and care is taken 

SKat the secrV^/does not leak out. 
•' •' "• . 
When Bhag^andas heard of his betrothal 

he- was'eir excited, but he was not at 

liberty .to v^yejexpression to his feelings, for, 

in Indian Society =.there is no appeal against 

a father's order:-/ 'On the marriage day, the 

pifo^sssiouo'^.h^ded by the bridegroom rrjarched 

td the,°bnde'''S'h6use and the marriage ceremony 

began.' "'The family priest joined the hands 

of the husband and wife, and asked the 

parents of the bride to give their daughter 

away. " We bestow the gift upon thee, " 

uttered the parents of the bride simultaneously, 

Bhagvvandas was then called upon to say in 

response, " I accept it with thanks; " but he 

would not say that; when pressed by the priest 

and his relatives to speak out the words, he 

angrily exclaimed, " I won't tell a lie; she 

is no gift ; for, I have paid for her. " No 

sooner were these words out of his mouth. 


than the parents of the bride hung down 
their heads with shame, and the Kayastha 
gentleaien piesent said things whicli had best 
remain unrecorded. They appealed to the 
lionour of the bride's house, and by persuasion 
not unaided by compulsion forced the guilty 
parents to repay the whole sum. This was 
done there and then. Bhagwandas had no ob- 
jection now to say, " I accept the gift with 
thanks. " He spoke the words and the bride 
became his for ever. 

Moral : — We want boys and girls with 
sufficient stock of moral courage to say ' ayes ' 
and ' nays ' as they think proper. It behoves 
parents as well to look to the happiness of 
their children, and be reasonable in exercisingr 
their despotic power. Unless and until we 
put a stop to the evil customs of early marri- 
ages, the sale of girls and the like, we should 
never hope to materially improve. 



' If the cap fits, wear it. * 

There lived in a certain village a revenue- 
Patel named Bhojo. He owned several acres 
of arable land and was a man of well-to-do 
circumstances. He understood the difference 
between ' come ' and ' go ' and therefore tilled 
his land in person , staying all day in the 
fields ; and his wife Rtldhd, took him his 
mid-day meal consisting of Bd,jri-bread and 
onions, which he reHshed more than sumptuous, 
dishes, after half a day's good work. Th& 
Patel and his wife had no children. The man's 
attention was therefore solely fixed on improving 
his land and the woman's in taking care of 
the produce thereof. 

One year the Patel had sowed sesamum 
seeds in one of his fields and it gave him a 
good crop. The Patel brought the beans home 
when they were ripe, and instructed his wife 
how to take out the seeds. While separating 
the seeds from the chaff, the woman helped 
herself freely to the ' Til ' ( sesamum ),- for, she 


liked ib very much. Now, a calf, thab wa* 
tied to a nail in the courtyard and had seen 
the woman eating the Til, kept bleating all 
the time the Patel's wife ate the seeds. The 
woman took this to be an insult and was very 
much afraid lest it might betray her to her 
neighbours who would laugh at her and call 
her names for helping herself to the sesamum 
without her husband's knowledge. When there- 
fore the Patel came home in the evaning, she 
put on an agrieved look and would not talk to 
him as was her wont. When the Patel lovingly 
asked her the reason, she said with tearful 
eyes, "This calf of yours watches my move- 
ments as if I were a criminal. When I was 
eating; a little of the sesamum seeds todav, it 
went on blabbing all the while. If our neigh- 
•bours come to know of it, they would jeer at 
me and take me for a thief. Either I or the 
calf must leave the house. We both can't 
live beneath the same roof. " " I am ready 
to turn the insolent calf out," said the Patel, 
" but once in the streets it will blab out the 
secret all the more vigorously. An excellent 
idea strikes me. In the capacity of the head- 


man of the village, I'ill ask the public-crier to 
go from street to street and cry out as folio \vs:- 
' If tho young calf tells you that the Patel's 
wife stole Til and ate it, don't believe it ; J or, 
it is false ! " Rtldhd was greatly pleased with 
the arrangement. She did not see that by 
justifying herself before the public she declared 
herself guilty. 


The greatest clerks are not always the 

wisest men. 

In the old days when there were religious 
schools in Kashi, Brahmin lads flocked there 
from all quarters to study Sanskrit, the mother 
of languages. The students were chiefly taught 
hundreds a,nd thousands of §Shlokas by heart, 
thus burdening the memory without an attempt 
at expanding the- intellect. They would tell 

§ Shlokas = Sanskrit Verses. 


you every tiling about the fSvvarga and the 
fNarka, • but they knew next to nothing about 
the world they lived in. Again they were so 
proud of their sacred language that they would 
rather give up the ghost than utter a word 
of foreign origin. I remenaber to have read 
of a similar case in which a Parsee coaching 
clerk was asked by an orthodox Brahmin to 
sell him ' a valuable piece of paper for Bombay' 
meaning a ticket for which there is no word 
in the Sanskrit language, for, there were 
unfortunately no Railways in the Vedic period. 
■The clerk took him for a mad man and dealt 
him a blow on the nose. But that is another 
story, we had better keep to the one in hand. 
A Brahmin lad of the above type was 
once going to a village in company with his 
G<ir<j. Both master and pupil had a natural 
disgust for the *Prdkrit and they spoke 
nothing but Sanskrit. The otherwise tedious 

t The Swarga aiad the Narka = The upper and 
nether worlds; The heaven & hell. 

* Prakrit = Language derived from Sanskrit and 
spoken by low class people. 


journey on a summer day was enlivened by 
a lively discussion on the origin and roots of 
certain words every one of which occupied half 
an hour at least in being traced home. By 
mid-day they arrived at a well. The Guru 
at onco went up the margin, perhaps to gauge 
the water; bat either to make sure of its 
<3epth or to quench his thirst, he fell into it 
head downwards. The water fortunately was 
not deep, so he could keep his head above the 
water without much inconvenience. When 
the disciple saw his Gurii fall into the well, 
he cried out at the top of his voice; but he did 
so in Sanskrit, for, Prakrit he would not speak 
even to save his own life; '•' My Gtaru has 
fallen into the well; run, people, run! '' There 
■were several people working in the fields 
close by, but they did not mind him, 
for, they understood not a word of what he 
said. The GArfi who was very much shaken 
by the fall heard him, and said, " Speak to 
them in Prakrit, or they will never come. " 
The boy did so. The cultivators responded 
io his call and helped to draw the pot-bellied 
priest out of the well. 


Moral: — Learn to accomodate yourself to 
the time and circumstances in which you live. 

A little learning is a dangerous thing. ' 

According to the present standard of Edu- 
cation prevailing in India, a student is re- 
quired to pass in a variety of subjects. The 
natural result of this faulty process is that 
a student tries to learn something of every- 
thing, and that something is too little to be 
of any practical use to him in the world, and 
at times proves dangerous. 

A student named Parbho once picked up 
in the course of a lecture that the sun, the 
moon, the stars, the earth & what not had 
no substantial supports to keep them from 
falling, but were kept in their places by the 
force of attraction. He had also learnt that 
& ball when thrown up falls back on the ground 
and does not keep in the air or go heavenwards. 


because it is nearer the earth than heaven 
and the earth being the greater body of the 
two possesses greater attractive power than 
the ball. If it were otherwise, the earth would 
fly to the ball and where we should all b» 
in that case it is difficult to guess. 

Parbho's father who was an astrologer 
of good repute was once summoned by a rich 
Bania to read his horoscope. After examining 
the position and influence of every planet, 
the astrologer advised his patron to give a 
J Seedh^ to a Brahmin for the pacification of 
Saturn, and to take only one meal on Satur- 
days. The Bania naturally asked the t Joshi 
to send his son for the Seedhd. 

When Parbho was returning home with 
flour, sugar, rice and pulse tied at four corners 
of his kerchief, and a pot of ghee in his hand 
a question rose in his mind. He asked him- 
self which of the two — ghee or pot — had the 
greater power of attraction. The experiment 
must be made at any cost. He held the pot 

X Seedh§,= Quantity ef flour, sugar, -rice, pulse, 

and ghee sufficient for one man. 
t Joshi = An astrologer, 


bottom upwards and both ghee and pot wen^ 
severally down, thus proving at least that the 
earth had the greatest attraction of the three ! ors 
his return home his father further proved ta 
him that his back had great attraction for » 
stick. ! 

Moral: — Learning makes a good man 
better and an ill man worse ; for, the higher 
the ape goes, the more he shows his tail. 

' Borrowing 5,000 rupees on a single hair ! ' 

There lived in Ahmedabad a merchanfe 
named Tekehand, who was a man of mean& 
and credit and had earned an excellent reputj*- 
tion as an honest dealer. Once he had occa^ 
sion to go to Rangoon to purchase rice. He 
had with him ten thousand rupees in Bank 
Notes. The rates he thought were very prO' 
fitable to him and he consequently bought 
a larger quantity than he could pay fcr. 


When the sellers called upon him for payment, 
he made calculations and found that he required, 
live thousand rupees more to fully pay ^P 
their bills. Requesting the merchants to wait 
for an hour, he went to the Bazd.r and asked 
a banker to accomodate him with 5,000 rupees 
which he said he would remit to him with 
interest within a month. The banker naturally 
asked him for a reference, but Tekehand ex- 
plained to him that he was there for the first 
time in his life and was therefore not known 
to anybody. " I want the sum on my own 
credit, if you, can advance it, " he added. 
" But you must give me some sort of assurance 
that you can and will repay the sum, " replied 
the banker. 

" I give you my word of honour that I 
will repay the sum within a month. What 
further assurance can I give you in a foreign 
place where nobody knows me ? " Asked 

"If you can't do that, have you any 
objection to mortgaging a hair of your mus- 
tache for the sum ? " Suggested the banker. 

Pulling out a hair from his mustache 


and giving it to the banker, Tekchand said, 
*" Keep it in safe custody, sir, for, I will send 
for it in a few days." The banker after 
examining the hair, said, " This hair is crook- 
ed ; let me have a straight one instead. " 
■'Crooked or not crooked makes very little 
difference, " cried out Tekchand who was much 
enraged at seeing his hair slighted ; " You 
will have to return it soon. Will you advance 
the sum on it?'' The banker was convinced 
beyond a shadow of doubt that Tekchand 
was an honourable man, and he forthwith 
complied with his request. Tekchand, of course, 
returned the money in due time. 

This hair story travelled from place to 
place, and everybody admired Tekchand's self, 
respect and honourable conduct. An adven- 
turer of little means and less reputation at 
once proceeded to Rangoon to try the experi- 
ment and enrich himself if it succeeded. He 
went to the same banker's shop and demanded 
a large sum on credit. The banker asked him 
for a hair of his mustache which he gave 
very willingly. When, however, the banker 
demanded another, on the plea that the one 


he gave him was crooked, he pulled out 
another, and offered it to him without exhibit- 
ing the slightest offence. The banker coolly 
asked him to walk away, telling him that he 
would not advance a pie to a man who had 
no regard for his mustache. 

Moral : — Respect thyself and thou will; 
win the respect of others. The best title of 
a man to the respect of others must be founded 
on his own actions. 

Honour is like the eye which cannot suffer 
the least impurity without damage; it is a 
precious stone the price of which is lessened 
by the least flaw. 


* Weak threads united form a strong rope.* 

One night a thief broke into the house 
of a Bania and laid hands on the strong box, 
but before he could break it open, the Bania 
woke up. Without giving an alarm or losing 


his presence of mind, he at once got up, and 
approaching the thief with folded arms, he 
prostrated himself at his feet and said, " I 
know you are my family god and have come 
to bless me; for, your face exactly resembles 
that of the image I saw in a dream last night. 
You will, I pray, let me perform your PAjd, 
and feed you with sweetmeats. Consider this 
house with everything it contains to be your 
own and me your humble slave ? '' The thief 
was mightily pleased with the reception, in- 
wardly laughing at the Bania's credulity. He 
commanded the Bania to make preparations 
for his Pflj^ without losing time, as he must 
be back before daybreak, he said. The Bania 
awoke his wife and asked her to bring red- 
powder, rice, sugar, incense and all the necessary 
articles of PAjd. 

He then prayed the thief to stand near 
a pillar and allow him to walk round him for 
108 times with cotton-thread in hand. The 
thief did not object to it, for, he knew that 
circum-ambulation formed a part of the PAj^, 
At the end of each round the Bania prostra- 
ted himself at his feet and invoked a blessing. 


One hundred and eight threads one over the 
other formed a strong rope, and at the end 
of the Ptjja the thief found himself securely 
fastened to the pillar. He asked the Bania 
to untie the bond, but the latter calmly re- 
plied, " That's the work of the watchmen who 
will soon be here ! " so saying he summoned 
the police and handed over the thief to them. 
Moral : — Never draw your dirk when a 
dunt will do. 


* Vain glory blossoms but never bears. ' 

Theke lived in Halvad a Brahmin named 
Jatdshanker who once had occasion to go to 
Ahmedabad accompanied by his son who was 
ten years old. A *Dhotar hardly reaching 
the knee, a shirt covered all over with patches, 
a rope-like ragged turban, and a thick coarse 
woollen blanketj constituted the Brahmin's 
dress. On one shoulder he carried a bag contain- 
* Dhotar = & lone-cloth. 


ing cooking utensils and brass gods, and from 
the other was suspended a -j-Tftmbdi with a 
cotton string for drawing water from the way- 
side wells. 

On the third day of their stay in Ahmeda- 
bad, a rich Brahmin invited all his caste-fellows 
to a grand dinner. From three o'clock in the 
afternoon, guests began to pour in. Almost 
all of them had on silken Dhotars with gold 
borders, silken kerchiefs thrown across their 
shoulders, rings encircling their arms and fin- 
gers, and gold and pearl chains worn round their 
necks. They carried in their hands brass §lotii8 
filled with drinking water. 

It was some time before Jatashanker 
found the place and he was therefore among 
the late comers. He had his coarse blanket 
wrapt round the loins, and this shabby exterior 
together with the Ttimbdi gave him a beggarly 
look. The Brahmins taking him to be one 
made him sit apart from themselves at some 
distance. Jatashanker felt himself slighted but 
kept quiet. 

t T6mbdi = A hollow gourd for holding water. 
§ Lots. = A small water pot. 


It took about an hour to serve sweetmeats 
^nd vegetables of various kinds. The gods of 
the earth were then requested by the host to da 
justice to the homely fare. Now there is this 
distinction between the caste-dinners of Gujarat 
^nd those of Kathiawar that to the Kathiawari 
'Brahmins a copious flow of ghee is indispens- 
able while they don't care much for vegetables. 
To the Gujaratis, variety in food is more plea- 
fling. Jatashanker's son naturally therefore 
^sked his father when they would serve ghee. 
To this he gravely replied, " These people 
don't like ghee very much, for, it is a costly 
thing. We are not now in our own Kathiawar; 
where on occassions like this they spend with 
both hands. These Gujaratis are a very miserly 
set of people." This was overheard by a 
Brahmin sitting near them, and he sarcastically 
i-emarked, " Mahdrdj, the frog can not live 
^ut of her bog. It's no wonder you don't like' 
these things, for, you have probably never 
«een them in your life-time, much less tasted 
them. Again, beggars should not be choosers. 
But where do you come from, my friend ? '* 
J come from Halvad in Kathiawar, " replied 


Jatashankar, " and I know best what our 
Kathiawari dinners are like. You people pre- 
pare a great many vegetables, for they cost 
very little. We people use more ghee on occa- 
sions like this than you will use water ! " 
" Talking is cheap, my friend ; your very look 
bespeaks generosity, " retorted the Brahmin. 
Now this seemingly poor Brahmin of 
Halvad was a rich man. He was stung to the 
heart and.'he was not a man to quietly pocket 
the insult. When, therefore, the Brahmins 
rose to depart, he purposely placed his Tumbdi 
in their way where it was soon crushed under 
foot and broken te pieces. At this, Jatashanker 
sat down in the middle of the road and began 
to mourn, as he said, for the death of his 
Tumbdi. ! The other Brahmins gathered round 
him and oifered to buy him a brass lotd if 
that would satisfy him. " I would not have 
cared if it had been stolen; but now that it 
has died, I fear I shall have to perform its 
funeral ceremonies, and feed the whole caste 
on the 13th day after its death ! " he ex- 
claimed. He then sent for a lIHdndi from his 

% H^ndi = A bill of exchange. 


native place and cashed it in Ahmedabad. 
On the 13th day, he invited all the Brahmins 
of the place, aud fed them with ||Kansara 
and ghee. He instructed the waiters to serve 
ghee without reserve. The dinner cost him 
about four thousand rupees, but at the same 
time it humbled the Gujarati Brahmins for 

MoEAL : — India is sadly lacking in well 
organised charitable institutions. They would 
spend thousands on death and marriage occa- 
sions and would even incur debts to meet the 
extravagent expenses, but if you ask them 
to join and start an asylum for the old and 
diseased, or to establish scholarships, you 
would find them very close-fisted. Their charity 
is misdirected and they don't know how to 
make the right use of money. 

Kansdra=A kind of sweetmeat made of wheat 
flour and mr^lasses. 


A knife in the box. 

An old Bania named Nemchand dealt in 
a variety of drugs and enjoyed a very good 
custom. To save himself the trouble of opening 
the cash box every now and then, he had 
cut two holes on the lid large enough for the 
silver and copper coins to glide in. In this 
box, he also kept a pen-knife which he fre- 
quently required for mending his reed-pens. 

Once when the druggist was mending his 
pen, a customer came in with a long list of 
drugs to buy. He asked the Bania to attend 
to him at once, for, the drugs, he said, had 
to be decocted and administered to a relative 
of his whose life was in peril. The druggist 
put the pen aside and thrust the knife with 
open blade into the box. 

As usual he carried the box home at 
night and put it under his bedstead as was 
his wont. At about midnight, he suddenly 
woke up and began to say to himself, " I was 
really a fool to leave the knife open ; suppose 


the bedstead is turned upside down by an 
earth-quake or the tape gives way, I am sure 
to fall upon the box underneath. The lid might 
break and the knife I have left open might 
enter my body, and- the wound might prove 
fatal ! I thank my stars that it is not too 
Jate yet. " So saying he got up from the 
bed and opening the box he carefully closed 
the knife and then quietly went to bed again. 
Moral : — This is an extreme case and 
may not have come to pass at all, yet, men 
ought not to shut their eyes against the threa- 
tened danger and pursue their own course till 
the possibility of prevention has passed away, 
Cf. — ' After wits are dearly bought ; 

Let thy foreit guide thy thought.' 

Cf. — ' The swallow and \ 3:1 , j- t ;^„ 
other birds.' / ^sops fables. 

Seeta— *Harana. 

Haraua means abduction as well as a deer. 


( Abduction of Seeta. ) 

Once upon a time, a Brahmin came to 
the village of Rdjp^r. He was an excellent 
story-teller and knew the whole of the Ramayan 
by heart; so the villagers met in a public 
place every night to hear the tKathS.. They 
were quite incapable of following the poetical 
descriptions of the Brahmin. Only a few among 
them could grasp enough to follow the main 
thread of the narrative. 

There was a Patel with more of faith than 
common sense who regularly attended these 
nocturnal meetings. After a continuous nar- 
ration of over two months they came to the 
chapter of Seeta-Harana, The story-teller 
related the incident with much pathos and 
produced a very sad impression upon the minds 
of the audience. The Patel felt much for 
poor Edma whose wife Seeta, he thought, 
was transformed into a Harana (deer)! He 
cursed Ravana for transforming a human being 
into a beast, and heartily wished she might 
assume her human form before long. He was 
so much affected that he passed a sleepless 


night. Next morning lie left for a neighbour- 
ing village where he had some business. 
When a couple of days later he came back 
and went to the meeting at night, the first 
question he put to the story-teller was this, 
" Before you proceed further tell me whether 
Seeta is still a Harana (deer) or has resumed 
her human form?'' The whole audience laughed 
at his simplicity, and the story-teller explained 
to him that ' Harana meant abduction and 
not a deer in that particular place. 

Moral : — " It were better, " says Lord 
Bacon, " to have no opinion of God at all 
than such an opinion as is unworthy of Him, " 


Robbing the robbers. 

As a Bania's §J^n were going from tbe 
bride's house to the Bridegroom's native place 
which was a few miles distant, they were way- 

§ Jan = A marriage party. 


laid by several robbers. As is the custom, the 
Banias had their best clothes and costliest 
jewels on for this joyous occasion. They were 
stopped in the middle of the road and peremp- 
torily asked to give up all they had. 

The bridegroom who was an ingenuous 
young man was equal to the occasion. He 
got down from the bullock cart with his little 
bride by his side, and pointing to the marriage 
knot he said, " This knot tied at the time of 
performing the marriage ceremony can only 
be untied before our family goddess and we 
have to perform a regular ceremony accom- 
panied by music and dancing before we do so. 
Dire calamity befalls everyone who disregards 
this or interferes with its performance. You 
■will therefore allow us to perform the ceremony 
at the end of which everything will be handed 
over to you. " The robbers who happened to 
be votaries of Kalee readily agreed to the 

The Banias then took off their clothes 
and assumed various garbs, some of males 
and the others of females, of different castes. 
They borrowed the robbers ' trousers and sticks 


to play the Rajput, and began to sing merrily 
and dance about. Gradually they increased 
the distance between themselves and the robbers 
and then unperceived by the latter, they des- 
patched one of their company to the neighbour- 
ing village for help. The robbers, who were 
greatly amused by the fun, and were unaware 
of the Bania's trick, encouraged them in their 
play, and never once thought of patting a 
stop to it. 

The mock actors ' eyes were eagerly turned 
towards the village whence they expected help 
every minute, when the clatter of horses' 
hoofs and clash of arms were heard. The 
robbers took to their heels on hearing the 
noise, leaving their clothes and sticks behind. 
The Banias then leisurely changed their apparel 
and quietly returned home without further 
molestation on the way. 

Moral: — Policy often effects what force 
can not. 



The Bania and the Burglars. 

FoxjR burglars having broken into the 
house of a Bania at midnight and failing to 
find anything of value in the house, withdrew 
to the courtyard where they found a large heap 
of cotton-pods. They united their §Pitchhodis 
and prepared to fill them with pods, when the 
Bania suddenly came upto them and said, 
" You are welcome to as many of the pods as 
you can comfortably carry away. It will cause 
me DO great loss while it will do you a lot 
of good. But I should like to know how many 
partners you are and what share each is to 
have in the spoil. " " That's no business of 
yours, " said one of the thieves ; " Know 
however that there are four of us and we mean 
to divide the pods equally among ourselves." 
"There comes the difficulty, " exclaimed the 
Bania ; " I don't think you have scales and 
weights at your places. How will you manage 
to make an equal division of the pods without 

§ Pitchhodi = A piece of coarse cotton cloth. 


them ? Ygu see that the question was not 
prompted by. idle curiosity on my part, but 
an earnest desire to help you. I will sooa 
bring out a pair of scales and .the necessary 
weights for you. " So saying he went into 
the house and brought out everything that 
was wanted. He then began to weigh the 
pods. At the end of every instalment of one 
maund, he bawled out at the top of his voice, 
" This is one and that is two " and so on. 
The noise made by the Bania attracted the 
neighbours and the patrol that were going a 
midnight round, to the place; and the burglars 
were secured and dragged to the Jpolice-cliowki. 

A thief and the scorpion. 

In times of famine, people of the lower 
orders take to house breaking and theft. If 
they succeed in the act, they get something 

X Police-Chovvki = Police Station. 


to live upon for a time. If they are caugllfe 
red-handed, , tihey are sent to jail, \yhere in; 
spite of all hardships, they get their food.-. 
Thus their main object of any how getting 
their bread is obtained either way, 

0,nce in a famine year, thefts grew so 
numerous that the people oF a certain village, 
began to be seriously alarmed for their lives 
and property. The village police were too few 
to effectually stop the burglaries which were 
committed every night in one house or another. 
The villagers kept lights burning the whole 
night, sat up by turns, and engaged watch-men- 
to take care of their property. A Bania 
living in the place adopted a novel plan of 
protecting his riches against the nocturnal 
visitors. He bought a large scorpion from a 
bird-catcher and carefully kept it in his cash- 
box from which the gold and silver was taken 
out and buried under the hearth. 

One night a thief entered the Bania's 
house and began to search for valuables, w:hen 
the latter eaid to his wife, " I say, where have 
you left the key of my cash-box ? *' The wife 
whom he had taken into his confidence, re- 


plied, " I have carefully locked the box and 
placed it in a recess in the wall of the next 
room and have left the key on the lid. " The 
Bania got wild at this and said, " Don't you 
know that the box contains gold and silver 
ornaments worth thousands 1 You, women 
are a curse to society. Suppose your thief 
of a father enters the house and carries it 
all away. In that case I shan't have a pie 
left. Go and bring me the key this moment." 
" The word thief has sent a thrill of fear 
through my body and has utterly paralyzed 
my limbs, I won't for the worlds leave the 
bed, '' said the woman. " Well, if you can't 
go now, do it the first thing in the morning." 
So saying they kept quiet and feigned to have 
fallen asleep ! 

Taking up the hint, the thief rushed into the 
next room and soon came upon the box. He 
seized the key and opening the lock, thrust 
his hand into the box. But he had no sooner 
done so than he drew it back with a yell? 
" What's the matter, my friend; can I do 
anything for you ? •' asked the Bania. 

The thief hurriedly withdrew from the 


place and never approached it again as long^ 
as he lived. 


" Never mind the goods; the invoice is 
still with me.'' 

There lived in a village near Ahmedabad 
a Vohor^ named LAkmanji who had ar servant 
named Asm^lji. Once a few boxes of haber- 
dashery were booked to Ahmedabad by the 
Vohora's agent at Bombay, and Asmalji waa 
despatched to take their delivery. He took 
with him the invoice, containing the description 
of things and their prices, for the purpose of 

AsmS-lji reached Ahmedabad in the after- 
noon and hired two bullock carts to take the 
boxes to bis village. He then went to the 
station and took delivery of the boxes a» 
mentioned in the invoice, and after loading 
the carts left for his native place after sunset. 


; : When they had gone , abottt/ Half "wayi 
the carts were suddenly stopped by four. foots- 
pads. They asked the drivers to hold their 
peace, and called upon Asm^lji to hand over 
to them four of the smallest but most valuable 
boxes from the lot. The poor A'^ohor^i did as 
he was bid, and when the robbers had gone 
■a great distance, he resumed his journey. 
The drivers advised him to^ make known his 
loss at the next village- and ask for help, but 
Asmalji told them that everything would be 
recovered in time without the help of authorities. 
About midnight he arrived at his native 
place and heaped the boxes in a warehouse. 
Next morning, when LAkmanji went to the 
ware-house and counted the boxes, he found 
them too few by four. He at once sent for 
his servant and asked him to explain the short- 
age. " We were waylaid by four robbers and 
they have carried away the four boxes. But 
you need have no concern about them, " ex- 
plained Asmalji. " Do you hold a clue to their 
whereabouts ? Or have the Ahmedabad autho- 
ritias given you any hopes ? In short have 
you any hopes of recovering our lost goods -? 


Demanded his master. " It's no us3 informing 
the authorities^ " Asmalji assured him, " in as 
much as it entails much waste of time and 
money and the result' is generally nil. I have 
played the robbers an excellent trick and, they 
will have to eome back to us !" " Ridiculous ! " 
exclaimed LAkmanji. " They have no further 
occasion to show their faces after robbing you 
of your goods. " 

" Never mind the goods ; the invoice is 
still with me. How will they sell the things, 
the prices of which they don't know ? So, be- 
fore disposing of the things, they needs come 
to xis to learn their prices ! " 

** You are an ass, '' shouted Lukmanji ; 
what on earth do they want the invoice for I 
They haven't paid for the things that they 
should think of profit or loss while disposing 
of them. Was this the reason that kept you 
from informing against them ? You are so 
good that you are good for nothing. Leave 
me this instant, for, I am better without you 
than with you." 



"I will please you." 

Thers lived in Ahmedabad a Bania named 
Amtho-shd at whose house an astrologer named 
Bhogal Bhatt was a constant visitor. The 
sheth always overwhelmed him with questions 
with regard to his future, the coming rains, 
rates of various articles of trade and what not ; 
while the astrologer was never at a loss to 
find suitable and ambiguous answers for a;ll 
his questions. 

Once the sheth's only son fell ill and 
his life was dispaired of. The female mem- 
bers of the household ascribed the illness to 
the influence of some evil spirits and insisted 
upon having the opinion of the Bhatt on the 
point. Bhogal Bhatt was consequently sum- 
moned to the sick-bed, and the sheth spread 
before hin his son's horoscope and prayed the 
Joshi to find out and report to them the 
cause of his son's illness. After marking the 
positions of the various planets and making 
long calculations, the Bhatt raised his head 


and said, " Shani (Saturn) is having an evil 
influence on your son's health, I will do all 
I can to pacify the enraged planet, and ten 
to one your son will recover within a week 
from hence. After that, you give him one 
meal a day on Saturdays and send hin every 
Saturday evening with oil to bathe HanAmS-n 
(the monkey-god). This must be done through- 
out the year. As regards myself, I am sure 
you will not let my services go unrewarded. " 
"Certainly not, my friend," exclaioied the 
Bania, " I'ill please you when my son recovers. "■ 
" Agreed, " said the astrologer; " but mind 
you, you will find it very hard to please me." 
A chance shot mav kill the devil: and 
so it actually proved in this case. At the 
end of a week the patient was declared convale- 
scent and the ceremony of washing his head 
was performed. The astrologer ran to t'he 
Sheth's house in high hopes of getting his 
reward. He made up his mind not to be 
pleased with a pie less than five rupees and 
a quarter. But the poor fellow had still to 
learn that the nurse is valued till the child 
has done sucking and that his host was a man 


who would flay a flint. W,hen he arrived 
at the shetlx's house the latter offered him a 
seat. and congratulated, him on the accuracy 
of his calculations and. the fulfllment of his 
prophecy. When, however, the astrologer claimed 
his reward, the Bania said, " You will soon 
have it; you are in no haste, I believe. This 
particular day is doubly joyous to us all. 
Ic has given me back my only child, and a 
son and an heir to our king. You know, my 
friend, that the king has grown old and it 
grieved him very much to have no son to 
leave his throne to. It is really a red letter 
(Jay and everybody ought to be pleased with it. 
Aren't you pleased, my friend ? " The . poor 
Brahmin was in a fix. If he said that he 
was not plea,sed he would be accused of high 
treason and his head would be cut off. If he 
said that he was pleased, then farewell to the 
five rupees and a quarter ; for, he was to be 
pleased and pleased he was. He had to be 
pleased to save his head which he valued at 
more than five rupees and a quarter. 



All for the best. 

A" CERTAIN Kiiubi once owned a large 
buffalo who was a terror to the- other cattle 
of the village. One day as she was grazing 
in the fields, she sAvr another buffalo coming 
towards her. She rushed at her with raised 
tail and lowered horns, but before she could 
reach her, she fell into a ditch and broke her 
foreleg. The Ktinbi bore her home in a bullock 
cart and bandaged the broken part with the 
help of an experienced shepherd. 

Now the KAnbi's wife was loud in her 
lamentations at the sad accident and said she 
had a misgiving that tlie case would prove fatal 
and she would be put to a loss of sixty rupees. 
Her husband who was a man of placid nature 
consoled her by saying that all was for the 
best. At this the woman angrily exclaimed, 
" All for the best ! we can'ii send her out for 
grazing for days. Keeping and feeding her at 
home will cost us a great deal, and again there 
is no knowing how it will all end ! your way 
of arguing sounds strange in my ears. Never 


in my life did I hear before that an accident 
of this kind was a good thing ! " 

" What is done is done and cannot be 
undone, " replied the KAnbi calmly; " all for 
the best is a happy phrase and gives great 
consolation where there is no other help. 
There will be time enough to grieve if the 
worst comes to the worst. " 

The woman was anything but satisfied 
at her husband's philosophical explanation; 
but in a day or two it so happened that some 
outlaws drove away all the cattle of the village 
that were out for grazing, leaving only the 
Kflnbi's buffalo who was kept at home by the 
accident. When the report reached the KAnbi's- 
wife, she was convinced of the truth of her 
husband's argument. 
Moral: — 
Just as absurd to mourn the tasks or pains, 
The great directing Mind of all ordains.